It rained all night long. Thundered. Lightning'd. Rained and rained some more this morning. All the roads were flooding. Again. The wet environment here in Texas takes some getting used to after six years of desert living. And they say it's an especially wet year.
When the sun finally broke through midday, I was anxious to get outside. The gray was gone and I needed to be out of the house so I could go find some nature. My husband sent me on a photography venture.
I arrived at one of the Seabrook walking trails to find that it was muddy as ever. Other trail walkers were coming back barefoot, shoes in hand, mud up past their ankles. I was in long pants and flip flops, so I decided not to venture far down the path today. I sat for awhile on a bench near the entry gate and listened to the sounds of birds chirping and insects singing. I watched birds dipping down in the water, looking for an afternoon snack. I lost count of the fish I saw jumping and flopping in the brook -- they too seemed to be longing for the sunshine.
Then I got curious about the things I could see at a distance on the other side of some trickling water along the opposite side of the trail. My camera lens wasn't zooming in close enough. So I decided to cross the water and get closer to the patch of cattails and tall grasses that grew over there. I nearly lost a shoe as it stuck deep in the muddy stream bottom, but I was able to retrieve it.
My journey across this three-foot wide creek was rewarded with an area rich with wildlife. I saw a pair of Cardinals fly to their nest. I watched an anole put on a mating display on a branch -- probably within eyesight of a female anole, which I did not see. There were dragonflies, damsel flies and so many other insects and arachnids -- some new to me and others familiar. There were teeny tiny frogs who thought they could elude me by tucking themselves in on blades of grass. They were no bigger than the tip of my pinky finger, but I was close enough to see them here.
I grabbed my camera and went to work. I am so rusty at this craft for lack of practice, but I still enjoy trying. I felt good about some of the photographs I was getting and sure that many of them would be useless -- but still fun to attempt.
Then suddenly, my feet were on fire. I looked down and saw swarms of Texas red ants crawling all over me. Their bites are tiny, but vicious. I took the last couple pictures and then made a run back through the water and up onto the trail again. Mental note: I need some good galoshes for post-rain photography practice.
At home, after washing my feet and lathering them up in hydro-cortisone cream, I edited some of my pictures to share here. I wish I'd been able to stay a bit longer and capture more of the beautiful creatures along the trail. But I am glad for what I did get. Next time I will try to remember bug spray and better shoes. Maybe.
Bugs and frogs. If you are squeamish about either, move on, Friend.