Monday, November 12, 2012

The Refuge and Renewal

We used to go away every year for our anniversary when we were first married.  We never went far, exploring towns and places that were only an hour or two drive from home. Most of the time we took Jack with us.

In the past five years or so, we stopped going.  The recession has been challenging our resources of time, energy and money...and so we just kept saying, "not this year".

But this year, Jim had a plan.  Last Friday, he surprised me by taking off work and whisking me away to a private cottage retreat in Rock Hall, MD.


Rock Hall is a pretty small town on the Upper Chesapeake Bay...it's not far at all from Baltimore by boat.  In fact, most visit this fishing town by sailboat from Baltimore or Annapolis.  But to get there by car takes a bit longer since you have to cross over the Bay Bridge and the Chester River, pass over a few creeks, and travel around a bunch of necks and inlets to get there.

As we got further away from the main roads, there wasn't a chain store to be found.  And most of the towns consisted of a few buildings clustered around the crossroads at a stoplight...I hadn't seen that since I lived in Texas.

And another planned surprise was that our little cottage was not only surrounded by water but was just outside the entrance to the Eastern Neck Wildlife Refuge.   I wasn't prepared to take a lot of pictures but did manage to snap a few on the last day.


The refuge was largely empty of people but chock full of migratory birds.  The refuge was full of Eastern blue birds, cormorants, herons, geese (!)... but the best surprise of all...was the murmuration of a mixed flock of starlings, red-winged blackbirds and brown-headed cowbirds that we witnessed.


I know those European starlings are not great friends to our indigenous species, but you sure forget that when you see them dance as a black cloud in the sky.  There must have been a million birds that descended on the refuge and put on a show for us as we soaked in the cacophony of bird squawk.   I have a project featuring a starling on my "to do" list and I think this past weekend sent the message that it should come next after Mrs. Rose.

We saw a bald eagle and a few migrating butterflies. I did catch this shot of a Mourning Cloak butterfly.  I had never seen one before.


And down by the water, it was a so beautiful to see and hear the late season bay grasses sway in the wind...


They really have a beautiful movement when they blow in the wind.  



I noticed that many of the local residents placed these bay grasses on their front door posts instead of the cornstalks we more commonly see around home.  

And, for a bay that is finally seeing a restoration of its oyster beds thanks to the works of many conservation groups, it was great to eat oysters and see their shells littering the "beach"...


All in all it was a quiet weekend of reconnection...and we came back renewed, and re-newly wed.

Thank you Jimmy for a wonder-full weekend.  Happy 17th Anniversary.

I am one lucky girl.

23 comments:

FlowerLady said...

What a wonderful anniversary get-away. Happy 17th to you both.

Hugs ~ FlowerLady

Maureen said...

That looks like a supremely relaxing place to get away to. Happy Anniversary!

Createology said...

Happy Anniversary 17 years! What a sweet and thoughtful way to celebrate your special love. Blessings...

Catherine said...

What a wonderful surprise for you! Happy Anniversary!! Next year will be the first that we are going away for or anniversary ~ and the kids will be staying home! I am nervous and excited at the same time.
What a beautiful spot you stayed at ~ great shot of the birds!

Linda H said...

You are indeed one lucky girl. That Jim is a keeper, for sure!! Happy Anniversary to you both!!

Gerry Krueger said...

Your Jim has kind eyes and a kind smile... a sure indication of a kind heart...

I bet your Jack ate nothing but vegetables while you were gone... like tomato sauce on pizza, potato chips, and a peanut butter sandwich... Hey my kids thought peanuts were a root vegetable.. Ger

Rachel said...

Jim is definitely a keeper. It sounds as though you had a great weekend. Birds in flight make such a wonderful sight, don't they!

Suztats said...

What a wonderful place to spend some time with your special someone, and soak up mother nature's balm. Sounds like you had a marvelous time. What a guy!

Margaret said...

Congratulations! What a beautiful way to mark the years. May you have many more healthy and happy ones together!

Sheila said...

Special time, indeed! Oh so necessary.
:D

Carol- Beads and Birds said...

The beautiful thing is that it was a special and thoughtful weekend planned at a place you both would enjoy. One of the components of a happy and long love affair is a mutual love of chosen places to spend private time.

Our anniversary is in August. For years, until Terry's RA made it an unpleasant experience for him, we used to take a day on a weekend before or after the day to travel to a local town to spend the day antiquing, exploring shops at a local beach town along Lake Michigan or spending the day at a flea market. We rarely took a weekend. Owning more than 1 big dog has always made it difficult to ask someone to take care of them.

Its a happy life to enjoy spending time with the one you love whether its 17 or 41 years. Here's wishing you 50+ more!
xx, Carol

verobirdie said...

It must have been a wonderful weekend. You are a lucky girl, and Jm a lucky man.
We heve starlings here. The other weekend they were flying over my home. I spent a long time just watching.

margaret said...

congratulations on 17 years. Such a beautiful spot and that water so very very blue and clear. You sound as though you really enjoyed the peace and slow pace, no wonder you came home refreshed and renewed

Leanna said...

Oh my goodness, the murmuration must have really been something! Was that a humbling experience? So many birds --swarming like that-- and just the two of you, watching. That must have been amazing!
Many many more happy years together !!

Alice said...

What a wonderful anniversay surprise! Your photos are fabulous, especially the one with the starlings.

This looks like a lovely place to spend time with a someone you love.

Happy Anniversary!!!

Lorraine said...

Gorgeous photos of what sounds like a wonderful weekend.

Stephanie said...

I started following your blog just to look at your creations and admire. Now reading this post I see we have more in common, Texas and a love of Rock Hall and the Eastern Neck Wildlife refuge. It has been a while since I have been out there due to a busy life and the 2 hour drive each way, but your pictures are making me think I ought to go this weekend. Thhanks!

Diana said...

I am not a stitcher, but I love this blog. I subscribe and seldom come out to comment, but just wanted to offer congratulations on your 17 years and to thank you for these wonderful photos. To see that murmuration must have been heart-stopping - so glad you captured a piece of it! I love seeing your creative mind at work, most especially in your projects, but also in your travels - so THANK YOU!!

coral-seas said...

Congratulations on our anniversary! Rock Hall sounds like a wonderful place to relax and unwind.

I did not know that the starlings dance was called a murmuration. We have a very small flock at work and I find watching them mesmerizing. A larger flock must be spectacular and I would love to see it.

Great photos, as usual. I love the one of Jim!

Chocolates4Breakfast (TerriBoog) said...

What a lovely get-a-way! Happy anniversary to you both.

Gabriela said...

Wow....what a sweet guy!!!!!!!!!!!!That was fabulous but then again I am sure you totally deserved it!!!!!!

Joan said...

I have a new spot to put on my place I've got to go to. Your pictures were beautiful

Happy Anniversary ... and keep them going. 50 isn't all that far away.

Teresa said...

What a lovely get away.
Happy 17th anniversary.
Teresa's Heartfelt Stitches

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