Posts Tagged ‘Lake Martin’

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Kim Douillard is a fine photographer. I follow her blog, Thinking Through my Lens. Each week she posts a photo challenge. This week’s challenge is perfect for me, Nature’s Art. Kim lives on the West Coast in California. She takes pictures of the beach. By contrast, I live in South Louisiana. While our state is located on the Gulf Coast, there are no beaches, just marshland and canals.

Last week I posted pictures from a swamp tour on Lake Martin in St. Martin parish. I think my husband was a little jealous of our trip, so when Saturday was an absolute perfect day with temperatures in the 60’s and 70’s, he packed up the canoe, and we headed back to Lake Martin. This time I took my nice camera with the telephoto lens.

Wood duck couple

One of my students has quite an advanced vocabulary for a 2nd grader. She was explaining to me about how she was getting a rabbit for a pet.

“Mrs. Simon,” Lynzee explained, “I am going to be busy in the mornings because rabbits are crepuscular.”

“What does crepuscular mean?” I asked her after praising her for her high level vocabulary.

She explained that she had learned the word from Wikipedia when she and her mom were researching about her new bunny. It means active at dawn and twilight.

I told this story to my husband, so when the alligators kept popping their menacing heads out of the water, he began calling them crepuscular muscular submarines. I admit it’s more frightening to see them in a canoe than in a big metal flatboat. My nerves were quite jumpy throughout our adventure.

Alligator hiding in duckweed.

Aside from the muscular gators, there were plenty of crepuscular birds. Wetlands birds are majestic in their size and graceful flight.

Great white egret, Lake Martin

Sunset at the lake created interesting color changes. I’m not much of a pro at taking photographs, but sometimes I just got lucky. The light, the art of nature, and my camera clicked at the just right time.

Grey heron, largest of the heron family

From vocabulary.com “The adjective crepuscular describes anything that’s related to twilight, like the crepuscular glow of the dimming light on a lake as darkness falls.”


crepuscular glow of the sunset

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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for the Slice of Life Challenge.

Cherish is my 2017 one little word. So when my youngest daughter came home and wanted to go on a swamp tour, I took the morning off to cherish this special time. Whether it was the high air pressure or the slant of the sun in May, but the cypress swamp on Lake Martin was glowing. I wished I had brought my big camera, but my phone had to do. Even so, I captured some amazing images.

Lake Martin is a nature preserve and bird sanctuary, so there is no feeding of the animals of any sort. The guides do not attract the alligators to the boat. Even so, there were plenty of gators around to see. All sizes, from a small baby about 2 feet long to an old grandpa at 14 feet. Many of them were perched on branches sticking out of the water sunning themselves. Gators have no sweat glands, so they open their mouths to cool off. This makes them look fierce. They pretty much ignored us, though.

I learned that there are few snakes in the swamp because the birds and the gators eat them. The lake is home to all kinds of birds from the largest species of heron, the grey heron, to the littlest chickadee. We were mesmerized by the roseate spoonbills flying above, a spray of pink on the sky.

I enjoyed being a tourist in my own home. We should do this more often. I loved learning new facts, some of which I want to “fact check”, such as Spanish moss was brought into Louisiana on a bird. How do they know that?

If you plan to come to South Louisiana, you should plan on a swamp tour. However, it’s pretty warm, so you’d probably not want to take the trip during the summer.

I made an Animoto video and digital poem about the cypress swamp. Enjoy!

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Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers blog for Tuesdays Slice of Life Challenge.


I’m reading a new book, Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert.  I’m not sure where I read about this book.  I know Leigh Anne is reading it, and so is Catherine.  So here’s the thing: If there’s a group of us reading this book who want to chat, we could start a virtual book club.  We could chat in Voxer or Google Docs.  If you want to join in, email me at margaretsmn at gmail.

Four years ago I jumped into publishing and put out a middle-grade novel, Blessen.  At the time, I found an old diary that told me I’ve wanted to be an author all my life.   Notice my expectation as a teenager that maybe confidence came from someone else.

"I would love to be a writer if only someone would give me confidence!"

“I would love to be a writer if only someone would give me confidence!”

If growing up has taught me anything, it’s that confidence comes from courage that comes from your. own. self.  No one else can give it to you.

Elizabeth Gilbert says she lives in fear everyday.

Creativity is a path for the brave, yes, but it is not a path for the fearless, and it’s important to understand the distinction.

Fear will always show up when you are trying to be creative.  You can tell it to go away.  But it’s always there.  I love that this great author is telling me this.

I’ve grown to cherish this blogging space because I feel safe here.  Whoever you are, reading and leaving me kind comments, you are my angels.  You help me feel like my words are worthwhile and mean something.

Since my OLW is present, I am showing up.  I’ll listen for the muse, the magician, whatever his name is and answer with a yeah, ok, let’s do this crazy creative thing together.

Being present this past weekend, my husband and I visited Lake Martin for the sunset on the way to our dinner/ dancing date.  It was not the best of all sunsets.  I got my boots muddy.  But we showed up.  With a little magic from the lens and Picmonkey, I created an inspiring image.  On Sunday, I wrote a tanka for the image.  And I am sharing it here.  Kicking fear to the curb!  See ya!


Photo and poem by Margaret Simon

Photo and poem by Margaret Simon

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  Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

NCTE Presentation Flier

Anticipation is building for the 2014 NCTE Convention. I’ve gotten the catalog and my badge. My bag is waiting to be packed. And I have laryngitis. Yes, you heard me. I am nursing it with hot tea and rest. I hope I will have a voice by Thursday when I accept the Donald Graves Award and on Friday when I present with my friends from the National Writing Project Professional Writing Retreat. If you are there, I’d love to meet you. The Two Writing Teachers Blog writers are having a Slicers dinner on Saturday night. I look forward to meeting many fellow bloggers there.

Sunset at Lake Martin, Breaux Bridge, LA.

Sunset at Lake Martin, Breaux Bridge, LA.

This weekend a group from our church went on a canoe trip on Lake Martin. Lake Martin is a beautiful wildlife preserve where cypress woods grow and birds nest. We even saw two bald eagles high in matching trees. It was an overcast cool day around 54 degrees, but welcomed with no mosquitoes or humidity.

We paddled around the lake to the edge of the bird sanctuary where white ibis were nesting. Thousands dotted the trees with snow white wings. When we got close enough to see them, they took off. I made a quick video of this (It’s a bit shaky; I was in a canoe.) In the background you can hear my husband explaining the Cajun French word for Ibis, “bec croche,” means crooked beak.

On the road to Lake Martin, we passed a burning cane field. The field of sugarcane is traditionally burned before harvesting to make it easier to transport. There is controversy over whether this is harmful to the environment. To me, it is the scent of fall, smokey and sweet. Take a moment to listen to the burning of the cane field.

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