Sunday, November 13, 2011

Eagle Bluff

My dad called me Friday night to tell me about some eagles he had spotted on the bluff near his house. I grew up traveling this one particular highway....
It starts at 5-mile corner, the driveway in the photo above leads to an empty lot. Before it was an empty lot, there stood a burned-down trailer house. Before the trailer burned down, my mom had a boyfriend that lived there...many years ago.

Highway E continues past a white building/barn with sunflowers painted on it. Just past the little white building is a crumbling house, it used to have sheep wandering the surrounding pastures, and a 'crazy' hitch-hiker lady who would always be found on street corners around town. She was nice enough, but if you picked her up, she was like the hitch-hiker missionary, telling you about Jesus and the bible. I don't know if she still lives there, or if anyone does....the house is practically falling down now and the sheep are gone.

Just after that, you drive through an intersection, turn east and you head out into the country, to a secret spot where we used to drive through an old tree farm and go swimming on our own private creek beach. I remember the stinging nettle and the crawdads. 

Turn right, you will drive over Wagon Bridge, the old version of highway E, where the Granby was built, near Shoal before it got flooded and the whole town moved to higher ground. I have many memories of wagon bridge...of taking pictures, going swimming, digging worms, and fishing.

Past that intersection, sits a beautiful mansion with a pond and fountain, and a copper awning over a massive front door. 

Just beyond the mansion is a bridge that connects two bluffs. The bridge goes over a scenic valley, with grazing cows, a babbling river, and a train track. The familiar sound of the late night train whistle in the distance is one of my favorite sounds. The valley and the bluff together is a picturesque scene, especially in the fall.

Highway E is a very familiar place. The bluff that my dad referred to as 'our bluff' is most definitely ours. When I was a kid, I would hike up the dirt road behind our house to the bluff to pick flowers, look over the edge at the water below and pick blackberries. My first kiss was on the rocks overlooking shoal creek. It is a very special spot to me.

 So when  he told he he had seen some eagles in the trees, I wasn't sure if I believed him...

When he said, 'Nellie, you have got to get down here and see these eagles before the leaves blow off the trees, they  are amazing! With their white heads, and the orange leave. Get down here and bring your camera with your biggest lens because these are National Geographic images!'....

I figured it was just dad code for: "You need to come see me soon, before the leaves fall off the trees."

I decided to squeeze his request into a very busy Saturday and drive down to Granby around 3:00pm, since he had seen the eagles on his way home for several days in a row. 

Saturday was one of the windiest days EVER! 

When I first got to the bridge going up to the bluff, and saw the eagles perched in the tree, my first response was, "Those are FAKE eagles......those aren't real.'

Seriously, the eagles were absolutely beautiful! And huge! They looked like fake eagle statues someone had hung up in the trees. Who would climb up in a dead tree under a bridge and hang up some eagle statues? No one. The eagles were real. Hooked beak and all!

I was fiddling with the settings on my camera, trying to get them just right. I was using my biggest lens, and the AUTO feature just doesn't work with my camera, so I have to manual focus and make sure the exposure is right on each picture. 

When I say that it was windy...I mean that it was insanely windy. I had my camera mounted on a monopod....and the wind kept blowing the big lens, just when I had it focused perfectly, a lot of my images came out blurry.

I only had a few second to adjust my camera before the eagles started flying around. I am so mad. I wish I would have had my camera ready BEFORE I got out of the car, crossed the bridge, and pointed it at them...then I would've had more time. 

The pictures of the eagles aren't the greatest. I know that. But it was amazing to see them....they were so beautiful amongst the orange trees. I am so glad my dad convinced me to drive down and try to spot them with my camera.

 Sort of looks like a Monet painting...all blurry and dotted.
 So I know that if you want to see some good eagle pictures, just google EAGLES...and some REALLY amazing images will pop up. But if you want to see a landscape that is familiar to me, newly dubbed 'Eagle Bluff' can only see the images right here.
 It is so beautiful this time of year! I'm really glad I took this little drive down memory lane.
 I love the Ozarks!
This is one of my favorite times of the year. In just a few weeks, it will be Thanksgiving. I am thankful for my family and my memories.

1 comment:

kszwahl said...

I really miss the Ozarks this time of year. Thanks for sharing your story.