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


Friday, May 28, 2010


(MAY 28, 2010) MINUTIA: That which is simple, common, small and insignificant.

This morning on the Riverwalk I noticed - QUIETNESS. The songbirds sounded muted, and the Canada geese had gone somewhere else. The dark woods was silent except for a rare bird sound. The meadows beyond the dark woods were quiet with the absence of the geese, and even the domestic geese I saw near the bridge were not noisy - they just moved quietly to the water. I don't know why the Riverwalk was quiet, but it was.

Early into the walk, Sadie stopped and pointed at something that I couldn't see. When I walked over and looked closer, I realized that she was pointing at a small fly that had caught her attention. In the bright sunlight,the fly had a fluorescent green shine to it. It was just a fly, but it was rather attractive. This was a very minute detail of the walk, but the results of that moment turned into an obsession with me as we continued.

We walked more slowly on the trail this morning as I started noticing movement on the leaves. There was a cool granddaddy long legs on a bright green leaf. It moved about like a ballerina as it tip toed on its green stage. An ugly black bug led contrast to the red and black bugs we often see on the walk. The black bug seemed to be independent; the red and black bugs tend to hang out in larger groups, often crawling over each other in their small private universe.

And, then, I noticed more flies. When flies are thought of, the first word association is "nuisance." This afternoon, I talked with a gentleman in an office who had gone out earlier and bought a fly swatter since one had been buzzing over his head all morning. He said, with a sense of disappointment, that after he put the fly swatter on his desk, the fly didn't show up again.

I'm not sure if there are as many different types of flies as there are different types of "Bubba Shrimp," but I saw some very interestingly colored specimens this morning. There were green-eyed flies, yellow flies, orange-eyed flies, black flies, red eyed flies, and brown-eyed flies. Each fly had its distinct coloring but, I kept telling myself, "they are JUST flies."

JUST FLIES. These creatures make a minute part of our system, and we often just swat them without looking at them. The colors and physical structure of these aerodynamic aviators are, sometimes, spectacular. I watched closely as the flies I saw this morning cleaned themselves, and then, like a Harrier jet, just took off vertically and flew away.

In addition to minute insects, my eyes were focused toward other minute objects. In the grass, at one point in our walk, I saw a single toad stool. It was a beige and browned colored little umbrella shaped part of the minute landscape. It was alone.

There are tiny things that surround us, but we often don't take the time to stop and see. The Riverwalk was quiet this morning, but there was a visual symphony going on right under my eyes. The colors and uniqueness of the minute objects along the trail made an otherwise quiet day, louder with the beauty of nature.

As I sat down in my car, after our walk, there was a small flying bug that had gotten in when I opened the door. After my experience with observing the minute objects on the trail, I looked very closely at the bug - it was a small insect with long gray wings and long antenna. I looked very closely at the little creature - I observed its movements - I observed its colors - and then I swatted it.

It was a good morning on the Riverwalk.

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