Roger, telling about his four years living in Zuni, Virginia. Zuni is in Isle of Wight county, along the Blackwater River and part of The Great Dismal Swamp. He was there for about 4 years, and during that time his bond with nature was really cemented. From what I have been told by his mother and sister, he was always a quiet, introspective person, preferring to be outdoors and while not antisocial, definitely not dependent on being around others constantly. He would "slip out the back door, quiet as a mouse when we had company, especially if it were someone he did not care for" according to his mother.
Early one morning, about seven o'clock, I went down to the Blackwater River to fish. I used a cane pole. I had my line in the water when two otters slipped their heads up out of the water and just stayed there, looking at me. It was so quiet and still. I stayed calm, and looked back at them. They were swimming towards me because that is where the mussel bed was. They mate for life, otters do, and the male was the bigger one that stayed in front. Once we made contact they pretty much stayed there, for a long time. I took my fishing line out of the water and just sat there watching them. I really didn't go to catch fish, I just liked being on the riverbank in the swamp. You had to go early, though, because once it got into the day the deer flies would eat your ass up.
|Along the Blackwater River, Zuni, Isle of Wight County, Virginia|
It is more than forty years later now, and he sees how the time he spent in the swamp and on the river shaped him. We have a creek I named Little Beaver Creek after we saw a young beaver in the water following heavy rains the first year we lived here. He is so content on our little acre, and has spent countless hours making Little Beaver as healthy as he can.
His efforts have born fruit, because we have a thriving ecosystem now. He has removed an amazing amount of trash and debris from the creek bed. Car parts (including a fuel pump and engine push rods), batteries, a section of railroad track about three feet long, glass bottles, barbed wire, oil filters - the list goes on and on.
Now we boast a variety of life in and along the creek - salamander, minnows, crayfish, non-venomous snakes, frogs, box turtles, snapping turtles, a blue heron visits often. There are dragonflies, moths, butterflies, fireflies, ladybugs, bats, many varieties of birds, and the occasional mole and shrew. We have seen or seen signs of raccoon, fox, skunk, coyote, squirrel, opossum, groundhog, deer, black bear and bobcat.
And yes, I hear the call of an owl on a regular basis.
|A section of Little Beaver Creek|
We have a good life, which we are grateful for and celebrate this Awesome August.