One of the things I used the computers for that morning was to check the route Pickles had given me for the place we would meet. Sure enough, I'm glad I did, as I got two different sets of directions from Mapquest and Yahoo maps and neither agreed with how easy she had made it sound. I printed off both and asked at the front desk, and the attendant pointed me to the route she would take as being most direct.
We actually did not get lost this time. :)
Pulling in to the place reminded me of the parks back home, except they wanted you to stop and pay for parking, which involved putting money in an envelope and depositing it into one area, and putting the tear off portion of the envelope on your window, etc. I noticed that no one who pulled in behind us bothered, but you try to make the right gestures.
The path into the actual Nature Center/park was short and restful, and I noticed that the people running the booth at the front had badges that I thought would have names on them, though I didn't really look closely. Good, I thought, when we see Pickles, we will be able to tell it is really her by the name tag. I was wrong, these were just volunteer badges, saying what organization the people were working with.
We walked past lovely greenery and trees and I never know the names of such things, I just enjoy looking at them. Grace seemed to be familiar with some of the plants, but with my black thumb, I am thankful to just walk past, look, enjoy, and hope whatever it is doesn't die of fright from my being there.
(Yes, I am that bad with plants. Especially house plants. They commit suicide if they know I will own them. I have even killed silk house plants. If I had a little indoor herb garden thing above the kitchen window sill, it would be called death row.)
The first booth we came to had a lady sitting there with beautiful eyes and the prettiest, warmest smile. It was the poetry/art booth, and as we stopped she asked if we wanted to do a collage with pictures cut from the magazines she had out, and she would turn our conversations into poems. We agreed, and started thumbing through the nature magazines.
She asked how being in this place made us feel, and I answered the first thing that popped into my head, which was prayerful, and like none of it could have happened by accident. When a small bug jumped onto one of the rubber stamps she had there with her inks, I noted it and she looked more closely and said it was a spider. I again said what popped up which was, "I just love arachnids!" Grace responded with the fact that she didn't mind spiders as long as they didn't jump.
Meanwhile, Grace was talking, too, and cutting and pasting, and drawing lovely bits of art between the pictures she was putting on the page, showing herself to also be naturally gifted in that area. I plodded along, and found a bit of a poem in one of the books, and a rainbow scene that reminded me of the rainbow we had watched from the back yard.
Two poems from our words and an art collage later, the talk turned somehow to pets not being allowed in this part of the park, as they tend to scare some of the endangered wildlife being protected here. One of her friends "over there", at a very nearby bench, had her dog with her, but had to leave him at the car and was worried about him. I asked if the lady's name was "Lades", and was asked if I had met her. I said, no, but I plan to.
Then Grace said, "If you are Pickles, we are mimi and Grace!"
Big hugs ensued, and much laughter. It seems my comment about arachnids had almost caused her to lose it, but she had held in so we would keep talking. Pickles accused us of not introducing ourselves on purpose, and really that was not the case. I wanted to make sure I didn't make a fool of myself, for one thing -- I do it so often, you would think I would get used to it, but I never do. I also wanted, if she was Pickles, to give her the opportunity to learn a bit about us that she would not have known had we just walked up and said who we were. She got to listen in, eavesdrop, so to speak, on us as people, giving her some insight into us. Watching her turn our words into poems and watching Grace turn magazine cut outs into art had given me some insight, too, into just how amazing these people are.
We walked over and met Lades and Script, who had been with Pickles at the booth the day before as well. I knew Lades right away, as I had seen a picture of her previously. Script I knew by the smile, and her rosary (I knew she was Catholic), and the fact that she was, as an accountant in her previous work life, very precise. She was the "official photographer" for the booth, and took her work seriously.
More hugs, more smiles. We went back to Lades' car and took Ford for a walk. Since the day was mild, and she was parked in the shade, it wasn't very hot, but she still did not want to leave him there for long, and all through the time we were there he was not alone in the car much, she kept on top of making sure he got out a lot. I tried to take him for a walk for her, but he would not leave beyond a certain radius with me, he is mama's dog, and won't stray from her. Eventually, she found the way to the dog walk, too, and he got to go down to the river.
Lades and I got to go into the Nature Center visitor's building, and it was fun. There was a child's area where I got down and crawled among the things meant for children to get a small ground animal's view of the world. It reminded me of doing the same when I had babies in the house, looking for things that needed baby-proofing. I also made a rubbing picture of a dragonfly.
They had owls and hawks that they used to teach the public about such animals, and I always enjoy seeing those.
There was a place where Grace and I sat and made some origami "goldfish", as representatives of the small endangered fish of the Rio Grande river that these people are trying to protect, among other species.
Grace took the walking tour, that turned out not to be so much a tour as a talk by some of the experts in conservation of this species, and they apparently talked a good bit about their efforts, and how much water is flowing past this part of the river at which stages, etc. In fact, when Grace stopped to ask a question about a local native plant, the man said, in a startled voice, "Oh, field botany!" and tried to look it up in a book he had with him. They narrowed it down to one of 3 possible species of the same genus, but it was apparent that the walk was more about experts discussing how their work was going than an actual tour.
Grace and I walked that path later, and she told me some of what she remembered. She said it was fascinating listening to them discuss these things that she knew nothing of, but that were apparently good news to them. Watching their excitement was catching. These particular fish seem to know, when other fish do not, exactly when the river is going to go down in what area, and vamoose ahead of time, which is great news for these little guys. Seems the Almightly gave them just the right knowledge to survive in this river, in this spot, despite large fluctuations in water flow, which other fish don't have.
Alex Kiui Day a/k/a Kivi Day, Finland
Bonza Bottler Day
Double Tenth Day, China (In remembrance of the revolution against the Imperial Manchu Dynasty.)
Independence Day, Fiji
Kruger Day, South Africa
Health-Sports Day, Japan
National Angel Food Cake Day
National Cake Decorating Day
National Women's Day, Morocco
Naval Academy Day
Oklahoma Historical Day
Shemini Atzeret -- Jewish
St. Francis Borgia's Day (patron of Portugal; against earthquakes)
St. Paulinus of York's Day
Universal Music Day
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., 1974
Brett Favre, 1969
Tanya Tucker, 1958
Charles Dance, 1946
Ben Vereen, 1946
Harold Pinter, 1930
Richard Jaeckel, 1926
Thelonious Monk, 1917
Edward D. Wood, Jr., 1924
Helen Hayes, 1900
Giuseppe Verdi, 1813
Henry Cavendish, 1731 (discovered hydrogen)
Today in History:
The Great Hurricane of 1780 kills 20,000 to 30,000 in the Carribean, 1780
The first non-Native American settlement is founded in Oklahoma, 1802
William Lassell discovers Neptune's moon Triton, 1846
John Hyatts patents the billiard Ball, 1865
The first "Dinner Jacket" is worn to the Autumn Ball at Tuxedo Park, NY, 1886
Ho Chi Minh enters Hanoi after the French pull out of the city, 1954
29 minutes ago