I finally logged back in to this blog and was somewhat saddened to say that the most recent post was 2018. Sometimes life gets in the way. While everyone talks about how 2020 is so, well, 2020. Our 2020 seems to have begun in 2019. In October, we lost our dad on the same day we’d lost our mom a decade earlier. No death is easy and its effects hover around us to this day. A series of other events followed whose details would be a bore. Work was busy, then of course, the pandemic.
It just seems that only time time in the last two months of the year, has there been time to write.
On this day before Thanksgiving, we take stock of our blessings. Thank God we have survived this long and look for that light at the end of this long darkness.
The Saturday after Thanksgiving, the sun returned, warming the afternoon air and giving hawks reason to scout for supper in the almost-empty farm fields flanking U.S. 70. This hawk, with his wind-ruffled feathers, seemed to be the only life for miles around.
The fall-denuded trees along I-40 and U.S. 70 between Little Rock and Memphis were full of big, beefy red-tailed hawks, keen for any prey making a living below in the chaff left after the harvest of rice, soybeans and sorghum. The hawks paid little heed to traffic whizzing past at highway speeds. However, rolling slowly or coming to a halt too close made the big birds spring off in a hurry. It took us several tries to get our “lazy naturalist” photography choreographed, figuring how close we could roll the car; how long it takes to frame the shot; how to push the distance to catch the bird up close and in flight. The trial and error we practiced from St. Francis County all the way to the edge of Pulaski County produced some amusing and wonderfully imperfect shots. When we finally got the driving/shooting duet coordinated, we ran out of highway, hawks and open fields.
We were privileged, during one of our roadside stops, to have a red-tailed hawk make a successful strike just feet in front of the roadster. No photos, but an unforgettable closeup we’ll always have in our heads.
A couple years ago we watched as, off in the distance, a helicopter carefully followed high-voltage transmission lines, with a long object suspended from an equally long cable. The ‘copter’s back and forth flights mystified us then, but we’d forgotten about it until last weekend when, once again, we began to feel the vibration of approaching helicopter rotors beating the air. Looking south, flying along the power lines that march across and along a neighboring ridge was the Hughes helicopter, again trailing its long payload.
Our mystery was solved this weekend. On the way back from a Thanksgiving in Memphis, traffic was halted on U.S 70. Yards away was the helicopter, with its long tail, slowly moving parallel to the power lines flanking the highway. We were so close we could finally see its payload — a long string of circular saw blades. The Aerial Solutions helicopter and its skilled pilot were performing sky-based hedge trimming for Entergy, a power company that serves Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
[Movie fans may recall that an aerial saw was used for a more sinister purpose in Bond movie: “The World is Not Enough.” Bond escapes, but the whirling blades separate his gorgeous BMW Z8 into halves.]