Saturday, April 16, 2011

Random Nature Pictures, and a Quick Story

Last week our family was blessed with a couple opportunities to observe Gods marvelous creation. As usual I had my camera with me and I thought you might enjoy perusing some of the memories that I captured. One of our adventures only included Josiah and I, as we were on one of the bike rides that we enjoy so much. Actually this was supposed to be a fishing trip, but the fish did not show themselves so we abandoned the idea and gave ourselves up to the beauty of the landscape awakening in spring.

Streams were full and bubbling, merrily rushing along to only the water knew where. This particular stream actually comes from (in a round about way) our pond, but at this spot it was just a vivacious creek winding itself through woods and meadows in seemingly meaningless meanderings.

Our bike ride brought us to yet another location where the stream crossed another road and here we scrambled down the embankment and explored the surrounding brush around the stream.

We espied this little nest in one of the many bushes, but whether it was from last year or a new residence formed this spring we could not quite make out.

Another find, (and in my opinion the highlight) was a large pussy willow bush eking out it's existence in a marshy spot along the creek bed. It was so content looking and elegant, and I borrowed Josiah's knife and took a few sprigs home for observation.

On Saturday we (Faith, Josiah, Dad, and I) ventured out again, this time with Mr. Reiche as our guide, to Beaver Lake trails. On this occasion we entered by a new and to us, unknown trail. To explain the reason for this exploit, I must become a storyteller and recount to you a tale of bravery, tragedy and discovery.

It was early in the afternoon on Friday March 8th, 1957. Lt. William L. Durkee (22) was on his second cross-country flight, flying from the Selfridge Air Force Base. It was a beautiful day for flying and everything was going well, until Durkee noticed something was wrong with his jet. " I figured something was on fire because it was getting darned hot in there. I knew she was going to go sooner or later." Durkee knew he should evacuate and do it soon. " I didn't wait to remember all the instructions. I just hit the button, and my arms and legs went in all directions." He had jumped out at about 12,000 feet, his parachute dropping him into a tree. Amazingly enough, Durkee only sustained minor scratches received when jumping down from the tree. His jet on the other hand didn't fair so well. 2:30 P.M Ellis Moore's housekeeper Mrs. Ranney was doing her house work, when she was startled by an object that shot passed outside. "I was looking out the kitchen window when the plane went by...away across the field really low. Then I heard it crash." Ellis Moore was the first man on the scene but he could not get near because of the flames. This is from The Flint Journal, "Going down in a long dive, Durkee's ship barely skimmed several heavily wooded ridges before plowing into a State conservation tract in the Hadley Hills." The plane exploded throwing fire and metal everywhere. The engine lay like a burned out stump, catapulted 150 feet from the wreck.

54 years later Mr. Reiche heard about this event, and was determined to find any remains that had survived the years. Surprisingly, once he had located the spot, he didn't have to search far to find random pieces of metal scattered about. As soon as we found time, we went along with Mr. Reiche to discover some of our own artifacts.

Josiah found one piece embedded at the base of the tree, which he pulled out, examined, and then pushed back into the ground for the next group of adventurers.

We decided that on our following trip, we will bring along a metal detector, for there is sure to be bushels full of fragments under the decomposition of 54 years! I must admit though, that some of my favorite discoveries of the hike, was not the jet pieces but rather the miscellaneous pieces of God's beauty depicted in nature. Following are a few of my favorite photographs.

This tree was so hungry that it ingested an ancient barbwire fence line that marked out a road that used to traverse the ridge.

Moss is a beautiful things if you look at it close enough.

Another piece of nature that we sometimes ignore or even think of as gross, is fungus. But take a look at this and the next picture, and be amazed at the intricate design and multiple colors that God has imbedded into these fungi.

How marvelous are your works Oh LORD!