This blog originates on the banks of the Atchafalaya River, in Louisiana. It proposes to share the things that happen on and by the river as the seasons progress. As the river changes from quiet, warm, slow flow to rises of eighteen feet or more, there are changes in the lives of the birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles that use the river. And the mood of the river changes with the seasons. I propose to note and comment on these things.

My Photo
Location: Butte La Rose, Louisiana, United States

I transitioned a few years ago from a career as a water-pollution control biologist. I want to do this blog to stay in touch with a world outside my everyday surroundings, whatever they may be. I like open-minded company and the discussion of ideas. Photo by Brad Moon.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Flat Stanley

Morning on the dock with a cup of coffee is nice. I wish you could all be here to sit and look and talk. Reminds me of those free and loose days when we used to stay up all night to watch the sun come up in some pretty place, like a desert vista or a range of mountains or a seashore. But you know, there’s something about a river, moving along, with ripples or not, carrying pieces of things that came from somewhere up there and going to somewhere down there. Emigrating, one might say, because they are never returning to where they began. There is something about a river that feels alive, in a sense maybe more so than deserts or mountains. When you stand in one place and look at those, they are like a painting – beautiful, immobile and knowable if you look long enough. A river never stays in one place, is never the same if you blink and look again where you looked before because in that blink of an eye that place is occupied by something new, something different. With a river, you have to like change.

This morning some friends were taking up some nets they put overboard last week. I watched them and they didn’t catch much, and the nets must have been buried in the sand because they had to struggle to get them up, which was odd because they were in only six to ten feet of water. They were only 21/2 foot hoop nets but there were five of them strung in a row all on the same anchor. These “little” nets would have had a fairly small meshed webbing and it looked like it caught a lot of trash because of that, making them that much harder to pull up. They were baiting with pogies (menhaden), so I guess they were after channel catfish.

We had experiences with Flat Stanley yesterday. Flat Stanley got mailed to us from Austin, TX, with the request to have him take part in some river activities. We took pictures of Flat Stanley doing these things and will mail the pictures, and him, back to Austin to our granddaughter Lauren. She will share him with her third grade class and talk about how Stanley’s visit was like her own trips to Butte La Rose, or maybe not. He did some things she hasn’t done, I think – like catching a shrimp and a fish in each hand.

If water is a basic element for the gathering of people for contemplation and other things, so might fire be. Friends invited us to the banks of Bayou Grosse Tete to eat a pig with all the trimmings and to share time with friends we knew and friends we didn’t know we had. In a nice big, open, safe place they built a fire with pecan wood donated by the hurricane. During the evening I was reminded why you should never put candles or other similar things close to a Christmas tree, especially if it’s in the house. Several left over trees were put into the fire one at a time. It is one awesome sight to see these things ignite, almost explosively. I tried to get Ray to stand next to the fire so I could get some comparison for size, but he declined twice, citing fondness for his beard. A very nice evening. Thank you Alice and Oliver.

The river is at 8.0 on the Butte La Rose gauge going to 6.2 by Sunday, and staying there for a few days. The Mississippi and Ohio are rising slowly up north, but nothing big. Boiled crawfish are $4/pound in Houston.

Rise and Shine, Jim


Blogger Randy said...

Regarding the $4 per pound crawfish in Houston comment.. the more relevant question is "How much are crawfish in Butte La Rose?" Earlier in the year the outlook for cawfish was rather poor. I've heard that things have improved a little but not up to "standard" levels. In February my daughter had asked when we were going to have a crawfish boil. My response at the time was March 2007.

April 06, 2006 10:18 AM  
Blogger jim said...

Randy, I haven't checked real recently, but a few days ago the fishermen were getting $1.60 for them. At that rate I'm still a reluctant consumer.

Thanks, Jim

April 06, 2006 9:15 PM  

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