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


Tuesday, June 22, 2010


(JUNE 22, 2010) The Riverwalk was warm this morning when we got out there at 6:45. It seemed that everything was moving more slowly, even Sadie, as we watched the animals and fellow walkers go about their daily lives.

I stopped and talked with several of the others along the trail as we discussed everything from the water moccasin I saw this weekend to personal moments that may be life changing (a doctor's visit, a response to an employment test, an up-coming wedding). We gathered in the cool shade along the Riverwalk, just hangin'.

Sadie saw Lucky and Jodie, two of her dog friends, and while their masters and I talked, the dogs did their initial sniffing and playing, and then they settled down and were just hangin'.

Sadie is generally a very social dog and will pull the leash as she sees a dog ahead (what I call "one of her people"), but one dog this morning didn't get that response. I'm not sure she was interested in hangin' with a large German Shepard named Gunner. The dog started barking at Sadie (usually, it's the other way around, or Sadie picks up the chorus and barks back). but Sadie just looked and wanted to walk on. Gunner, I'm sure, was friendly enough, but Sadie seemed a bit intimidated with the dog that must have been twice Sadie's size.

It is summertime along the river, and everything was slower. The geese and their goslings were slower moving across the path as we approached them. The bugs on the bushes seemed to be in a state of funk as they were just hangin' there. Sadie lay down on a few cool spots along the trail and rested. I took some bottled water and kept her thirst quenched, but the heat made her sluggish, except when she saw a bug in the grass which tended to energize her.

Perhaps the most interesting thing we saw this morning was a group of young barn swallows, a dozen or so, just hangin' in a tree. They were humorous, trying out their new wings and practicing landing and hanging on to, and taking off from the branches of one tree near the small bridge that crosses a creek. I had seen activity for a month or more near that bridge of the barn swallows gracefully skirting the river for bugs as they prepared their nest for the young that were soon to come. The young birds would take off (most of them - one stayed clinging to a branch for dear life during the ten minutes I watched), fly around and then land. Sometimes the landing was graceful; sometime it would be aborted and the bird would fly around again and sometimes a scuffle would break out as one small bird landed on top of another one. But, they seemed to be enjoying their newly discovered talents. They were like human babies learning to walk.

Near the end of our walk Sadie spotted a butterfly that was just hangin' in the grass.
Now, butterflies tend to hang out in the sun, and this butterfly was no different. Sadie went into her "stealth" mode and approached the butterfly as I stood in the heat waiting for her to get closer. After about five minutes of her slowly moving closer and closer, the heat was oppressive and the dark woods was just a minute away. I stomped the ground near the butterfly, it took off after just hangin' for over five minutes, flew right around Sadie's face and disappeared in the sky. We got to the dark woods and were cooled by the canopy of trees there.

A few individuals, bike riders and walkers, were just hangin' and talking with each other in the cool woods taking a respite from the heat of their daily regimen. One biker commented on Sadie, and we chatted briefly about mutual friends, dogs and lives - he had retired and was remaining active; I was still working and remaining active. It was a good chat. We were just hangin' in the shade of the dark woods and enjoying the moment.

Summertime is a good time for just hangin'. However, it appears to pass most rapidly of all the seasons. Shakespeare wrote: "And summer's lease hath all too short a date." During this seemingly short season, when things appear to move slower, it is a good time to just relax, try to stay cool and find some time for just hangin'.

It was another good morning on the Riverwalk.

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