Archive for the ‘nature’ Tag

Hanging by a thread   Leave a comment

I photographed the (second and present) jumping rope here at the jump site just off the walking trail at the Big Thompson River, Loveland, Co. The kids still use the rope and jumping site and have for years. To my knowledge there has not been a serious accident or one reported with the kids using the rope and jump site, but the dangers from the river during flood stage is real and has resulted in deaths, from the devastating flood of 2013.

 

“It’s just what kids do,” grownups said when kids met up at the river during the hot summer months, jumping into the water from the old rope that hung between two trees.

But, once again, the river rose higher, and the current ran faster through the Big Thompson from the rain with little letup. It could be a clear flowing stream at its lowest point, a murky green at its deepest, or a raging menace at its worst. Today, it was the latter. Yet, they paid little attention to the warning signs posted, ‘High water. Dangerous current. Potential for flash flooding.’

“Will this work? I found it in the garage.” Shawn asked, holding up a spool of plied rope.

“It isn’t going to be as good as the old one, but it might.” Nathan said.

“I bet that old rope was at least an inch thick. I wonder what happened to it.” Danny said.

“Don’t know. Maybe someone took it down. Or maybe it broke off and washed away in the flood.” Nathan replied.

The wooden ladder rungs were still there, nailed to the side of one tree allowing the kids to climb up and jump into the water from the top. Nathan climbed up one side, tied a length of rope around the tree and threw the other end over to Shawn, waiting on the other tree. He caught the rope, pulled it taut, tied that end, and each boy secured their side with double knots. Danny stood below with a longer section of rope and threw the loose end over. They tied it off, then made knots for hand holds.

“Done. Let’s try it out.” Danny said.

They took turns launching themselves out over the water. Long enough to jump to either side they grabbed the rope, swung out and landed on the opposite bank. Then, they dove off the trees lunging at the one swinging from the rope. They played the game of, ‘Catch me if you can,’ when Danny caught hold, hanging onto Shawn, but neither saw the loosened knots tied at the trees, or noticed the fraying threads on the rope, straining under their weight.

“Dudes. Stop! Get off! The rope…it’s…loose!” Nathan yelled, but they did not hear.

A tree branch cracked. The frayed rope snapped, and Shawn and Danny tumbled into the water. Their sounds and yells were not heard above the roar of the river as they were swept downstream.

It had been a month since the accident. Nathan stared down at the still water. He kept seeing Shawn and Danny as they fought against the current that threatened to swallow them up.

A park ranger walked over. “Your friends almost died that day, Nathan. If they hadn’t found that broken tree limb to latch onto they might not have made it out safely.”

Nathan nodded. “I know.”

“Using good common sense to make right choices is a better way to learn a lesson, don’t you think?”

“Yes, sir.”

_______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

Footnotes:  The above story is a work of fiction, but the following scripture verses seemed appropriate to share in emphasizing the truth or lesson illustrated in the story above. Proverbs 8:34-36 on wisdom- “Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoever finds me finds life and draws forth and obtains favor from the Lord. But he who misses me or sins against me wrongs and injures himself, all who hate me love and court death.”

The Cache La Pouder River Rapids   Leave a comment

Where the rapids flow

through Pouder’s canyon narrows

wild, white waters go.

_____________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

The Cache La Poudre river is a very popular one in northern Colorado for river rafting, but can be very dangerous when the river swells, spills over and causes floods from too much rain as in the Sept. 2013 flood. I took the video above of the river overflowing to levels of spilling over its banks making it dangerous to rafters. Below is a video link where you can view the video portion in Amazon where I have it saved in the Amazon cloud.

https://www.amazon.com/photos/share/w0yGa2McIe1QQ4RkKg3jBz0lNz66VGLXtz9nidMRqTF

For information on the Cache la Poudre, click here;   https://www.rivers.gov/rivers/cache-la-poudre.php

Rafters on the Cache La Poudre River, northwest of Fort Collins, Colorado, May 15th, 2015. We drove up to see what the river looked like after getting so much rain and got there just as these rafters were ready for their trip down. The river levels out here and is a starting point where rafters board their rafts for the trip down.  JEJ

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…as a beacon upon a hill

A lighthouse off the Na Pali west shore coast of Kauai, Hawaii

 

 Lord, guide me safely

to your shores where I might find

sanction and sweet peace,

and that my own light be seen,

and my life in You lived well

be as a beacon upon a hill;

Let it shine that one might see

a safe harbor found in thee.

________________

Joyce E. Johnson © 2017

“I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness.” John 12:46 (NIV) Bible

Whispering palms

Kalapaki Beach, Kauai Island, Hawaii, April 2017, photo credit: Joyce E. Johnson

 

So light the touch on my cheek I feel

  a breath of sweet air from the cocoanut palms,

their branches waving like blades of grass;

 ‘Trade winds’ that blow across the island

push away the moist blanket of settling heat,

 a hovering squall of humidity

bringing a welcomed gust from off the sea,

 and the refreshing cool breeze that blows through this place

 brushes past me like a whispering fan on my face.

________________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

 

 

Hallowed treasure

 

 

 

The captain shut off the engine and steered the boat in, closer to the caves deep under the volcanic mountains off Kauai’s Na Pali coast. The low tide sent rippling waves to the shoreline just feet from where the caves opened up. What could not be seen beyond the cavernous entrance could only be imagined as the site opened up to what looked like a mysterious, enchanted place to explore. The boat drifted, rocking gently on a calm sea. Sunrays burst through the opening enveloped by the bright light.

I stood near the bow of the boat snapping pictures, awed by the beauty of these volcanic mountains with their ridges and crevices revealing the effects of time and erosion from the lava flows after eruptions that now were full of vegetation and growth. Older generations of native Hawaiians believe these mountains to be hallowed, sacred places blessed by the gods of their ancestors. At one stop during our cruise our captain, himself a native Hawaiian blew loud notes from a conch shell pointed towards a small inhabited Hawaiian natives’ island where they alone occupy, and no visitors or tourists are ever allowed.

I let my mind and imagination wander as I watched and listened for any movement or sound expecting to see pirates bursting on the scene with drawn swords and guns. Native Hawaiians believed in the folklore and stories told by their ancestors with a deep reverent respect for their culture and historic accounts of the island’s beginnings and inhabitants believing them to be blessed by the gods. Was it just folklore or were there really ghosts that lurked and lived in the hallowed spaces deep in the volcanic mountains of Kauai? Even the fish seemed to scatter from the shallow water that was as blue as a sapphire and as clear as cut crystal. Did they fear a marauding band of pirates’ spears? What was it like here when the first island inhabitants came to shore with little else but the fish, wild boar, deer and goats to coexist with?

I tried to imagine a scene from Walt Disney’s, Pirates of the Caribbean when learning the movie was shot here at this site. I loved the movie. I remembered the adventure ride at Disneyland way back in the sixties when we lived in Los Angeles, and riding the boat through the water canal, never dreaming of its potential possibilities or future. Now, on this adventure to the site of the movie I thought, What incredible beauty! What a journey, cruising the waters, discovering this treasure on Jack Sparrow’s deep blue sea.

______________

Joyce E. Johnson (2017)

Kaua’i Island, Hawaii

KAUA’I

Where coconut palm branches sway

to a hula dance in the breeze

and boisterous exotic birds

with their chorus choir fly,

and seagulls swoop in

as the fowl stroll lazily by.

 

Where turquoise water rolls in

and flows rhythmically to shore,

and marine mammals lie

near incoming lapping tides.

And surfers catch the swells, riding waves to shore

and swimmers snorkeling, barely seen

in search of what lies beneath.

 

Across dense fields sugarcane plants grow wild

tall and green with thick leaves blowing in the wind

and the ground full with pineapple,

papaya, nuts, taro, and other fruit.

Acres and acres of coffee beans grown,

roasted and harvested in robust blends and ground.

 

We drive up roads and climb

through canyon valleys and see

such picturesque sublime beauty, it’s hard to imagine

how volcanic mountains and lava caves

are now covered in foliage so lush and green.

 

We look out on a never-ending sea

and all I want is to gaze at the sight,

not think what waits beyond this day,

put aside thoughts about the ‘latest news,’

what goes on in the rest of the world,

and dwell instead on what I came to see

across the Pacific on the island of Kauai.

_______________

 

Joyce E. Johnson © 2017

Footnotes: This is the first of several pictures and posts of my recent trip to Kauai Island, Hawaii. The above picture I took of the upper east side when we pulled off the road and stopped to take pictures.

January’s freeze

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My spruce tree shivers from a winter’s blast

heavy branches drooping under fallen snow.

The air so cold, seems still and quiet, a serene like setting on a frosty night.

I snuggle down under the comfort of quilts, and feel the warmth of restful sleep.

I wake to the sun, warm and bright that pushes through my window with light.

The morning wears on and temperatures begin a slow climb from the subzero degrees,

and the arctic blast of air dissipates and leaves.

I shed a layer of fleece and insulated outer wear,

sweats and heavy jackets, and opt for short-sleeved tees.

Where else but here are there such shifting weather scenes,

where temperatures fall to record lows, and snow is measured in the feet

then hours or days after we slosh through winter’s thaw,

and it feels almost balmy, like a warm spring day.

We wish away the season, and hope it’s really gone,

but know it’s wishful thinking for it soon returns like dawn.

It seems a predictable pattern, so we never put away

snow shovel, gear or blower

stored beside the garden rake.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Joyce E. Johnson © 2017

Footnote: Our temperature in Loveland, Colorado, Friday, (1-6-2017) registered at -17 below 0 degrees at 8:00 a.m. Today, it registered a high of 50 degrees above 0 at 2:00 p.m..  That is typical for our area here in Colorado. 🙂


Posted January 8, 2017 by Joyce in My Photos, My Writings, Photography, Poems, poetry

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