White Deer Twins on the Riverwalk

White Deer Twins on the Riverwalk
These rare white deer twins were born this summer and have found a safe home at Dan Daniel Park and on the Riverwalk
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My name is David Hoffman. I teach English and journalism at Averett University, but I have two side interests - writing and photography. I also enjoy walking daily with my English setter, Sadie, and my wife, Elizabeth, on the Danville, Virginia, Riverwalk. As a novice to studying nature, I am fascinated by the slightest facets of the great outdoors, but most of my pictures are of birds - I don't know a lot about them, but I am learning more and enjoying taking pictures of them daily. I also take pictures of plants, other animals, and insects. All pictures posted for each day were taken on the day of my blog entry.

Leave a comment if you have the time or e-mail me at dhoffman@averett.edu


Thursday, May 20, 2010


(MAY 20. 2010) Little Things.

The world is full of "little things" that make life interesting. Comments based on little things tend to add variety to everyday activities. Sometimes the comments add positive variety that can result in smiles and joy; sometimes the comments add negative variety that can result in conflict. Generally comments shared on the Riverwalk with those who frequent the trail are positive and often fun.

Today I passed two men who walk regularly, and they commented on the number of pictures they see me taking each day. One man said that I must have a room full of pictures. I said that I take 200-400 pictures a day and, "someone told me, once, that with that many pictures taken every day, even a blind man could turn up 3 or 4 that are good." Most days I do; some days I don't. The gentlemen chuckled and moved on saying, "I hope you get some good shots today."

Another daily walker stopped and made a comment about something that had happened a few months ago. When I was taking a picture of an inch worm hanging from a thin thread, the gentleman had come up behind me and asked what I was looking at. I told him an inch worm. He looked closely, but couldn't see it since it was at a distance. We then exchanged some comments and made a joke, and the "little comment" has provided periods of amusement between the two of us. Today, we recounted that conversation and commented on "little things" that are said and done that make life interesting. This gentlemen is a happy man who works to spread his happiness to others everyday. He does that with "little things" that he says.

On the Riverwalk today "little things" seemed to be everywhere. One was the little bird defending itself from the larger bird; another was the little goslings representing the new generation that will continue to give the Riverwalk life; another was the little yellow bird spreading visual joy with its colorful feathers; another was a group of little bugs that, when grouped together, made for a colorful design against a green leaf, and finally, the other little thing was a jet liner flying overhead, releasing a white plume against the blue sky.

Early on our morning walk, we heard the squawking of a large bird on the other side of the trees next to the river. I walked back on the trail, while Elizabeth held Sadie, and I saw an osprey in the sky - retreating from a much smaller bird dive bombing the giant hawk at least ten times the size of the smaller bird. The osprey flew into a grove of trees and the smaller bird flew off. It was a "little thing," but quite aggressive.

As we approached the bridge near the public works department, we saw the larger white geese herding their off-spring away from the path where they saw a large dog approaching - Sadie. The "little things," the goslings, huddled up to the older geese and moved toward the river. "Little things" help to preserve and protect the future of the species.

A goldfinch, with its bright yellow plumage, sat singing in a tree. The "little thing" added melody to the quiet morning while providing an attractive visual to the greenery of the trees. Such a "little thing" makes the walk more pleasant and provides simple aesthetic satisfaction.

On the return trip, we walked close to the foliage toward the river. I saw something that looked like a small colorful moth on a green leaf. As I got closer, I saw that it was a group of small red and black bugs huddled together. These "little things" brightened the green leaf and provided an interesting mosaic form. The beauty of nature can be seen in even the "little things" that most people don't stop to see. As I was standing there taking the picture, another walker came over and asked what I was photographing. I told him, "Bugs." He said, "Oh, I thought you were taking a picture of a snake." I said, "No. Just some colorful bugs." He lost interest and moved on.

And finally, a little thing in the sky that was man made made me realize that what is often in "little things" is precious to those who care about life. A jet liner streamed across the blue sky; I know that in that "little thing" was life - humans who were traveling a distance to a destination unknown to me. But there was human life in that "little thing." Precious human life, like the precious life of birds bent on survival and making the world more colorful, and the precious life of bugs that must add something to nature other than the colorful mosaic they provide.

"Little things." The world is made a better place with "little things," and with the loss of these "little things," whether through human greed or nature's own depletion, comes a world that is just a little less joyous.

It was another good day on the Riverwalk.

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