Long Days of Travel Brought Me From My Home… November 28, 2009Posted by dianehuhn in Louisiana Wildlife, Photography, Travels.
Tags: Avery Island, azalea, Bird City, cammellia, giant egret, iris, Jungle Gardens, McIlhenny, Shonfa Temple Buddha, snowy egret, Tabasco
After my thoroughly informative and enjoyable trek through the world of Tabasco, it was time to head for the main attraction in my book–Jungle Gardens! I was a bit bummed that the sun had not decided to arrive while I was inside, but hey, it wasn’t raining so I decided I couldn’t complain too much.
So I headed back down the secondary gravel path to the main gravel path and hung a left, pulled in to the visitors center to pay my entrance fee and get my map to this 250-acre garden paradise. And not only did I not just get handed a map, I got a full blow-by-blow description of what awaited me around each bend by the most lovely and informative park attendant you could ask for. When I mentioned that this was my first trip to the island, Nonny grabbed her red pen and started circling and x-ing and drawing arrows to every little “must see” spot complete with reports on the wildlife she’d seen earlier that morning. I haven’t seen that many red marks on a piece of paper since I got the first draft of my senior thesis paper back from Dr. Sipher at SUNY, Cortland. But while I wasn’t too excited about those red marks, I was practically drooling over these.
So armed with my map, I headed for the car and vowed to stop back with my report. I barely made it to the first corner before I had to pull over and grab the camera. I mean, could you ask for a more inviting path?
E.A. McIlhenny, son of the famed Tabasco genius Edmund McIlhenny, was the visionary behind this one of a kind treasure. An ardent naturalist and conservationist, McIlhenny was dismayed that the snowy egret had been driven almost to the brink of extinction by plume hunters supplying the feathered hat industry in the late 1800s. In an effort to save these graceful creatures, he gathered up the remaining seven left on the island, and built them a large cage over a pond. He also once built a cage for some nutria that he imported to the island, but that’s a whole different story that maybe we’ll save for another day.
Anyway, at the beginning of the next migratory season, he destroyed the cages, let them head south, and hoped for their return in the spring. And return they did, with friends in tow.
Now this guy really probably shouldn’t be here at this time of year, but Nonny seems to think he probably lost his mate round these parts and is waiting for her return. Oh, just break my heart why don’t you. But he was good for a bit of comic relief to cheer me up from that sad thought.
Another of my egret friends dropped by for a spell. He was a bit shy at first…
…but soon decided I was just another harmless Yankee with a camera.
You know, these guys are so graceful in profile, but pretty darn hard to take seriously when you meet them face to face.
Geez, I could have hung out in this spot all day, but I’d barely made it a half mile on the four mile path and I was itching to see what was waiting for me around the next bend. Oh man, doesn’t that look like an inviting spot for a picnic on a lazy summer day? Well, as long as no uninvited guests stop by.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, but ah yes, I had to take this one.
And I suspect that road is the one more traveled since it brought me to this.
I mean, are you kidding me? How did this get here?
And what a view.
Ok, must come back on a sunny spring day when the azaleas and the camellias and the irises are in all their glory and the 100,000 birds have returned from their winter vacation to enjoy this amazing Louisiana treasure. I guess we’ll just have to see if I can wait that long, but sure enjoyed a sneak peek. Hmmmm…where to next? So many choices. So little time.
Peacefully I rest
Upon this lagoon’s bank
As pale green bamboo’s
Sway above my throne.
Clouds of blossoms
Soften the sifted light
Falling golden and misty
through the boughs above.
Long days of travel
Brought me from my home,
Yet I have known no hour of calmer rest
My thoughts are like
The swaying bamboos’ crest
waved to and fro
Above the rippling stream
Clear and blue
As from a glorious dream