Friday, December 28, 2012

Lake or Bay?

Which is "Best" the Bay or our Lake? Well as lovely as it is to have a view of The Chesapeake Bay I have to go for The Lake as my favorite view (Except for Julia).
When you live on the Bay you do indeed have a wide expanse of water in front of you. And yes you can often see the Eastern Shore, even if it is rather a long way away. Of course there are the boats, big and small, which add interest. The birds are also fun to watch.

But, The Lake holds a bigger place in my heart as well as in my vision. Yes the Bay has lots of water, but just how much water do you really need? The Lake has about 40 acres of water and lots of trees too - which is something usually missing from the Bay view.

I think you could compare Bay and Lake views to a large crowd of people at a big party or a small group of friends and a more intimate party. Which do you prefer? Apparently I like the smaller gathering.

At The Lake I can look out and see most of The Lake all in one sweeping glance. Even the trees on the far side are easy to see. There is a bigger variety of birds. Sometimes I can even see fish! Yes there are Carp in The Lake that are 4 or 5 feet long, I have seen them!

The Osprey often snatch a fish out of the water and fly off with it in their talons! Can you imagine being that fish? Swimming quietly along, looking for a tasty bug or other snack, when suddenly WHAM! you are out of the water and several feet above The Lake in a world that you didn't even know existed! If you get lucky you will be dropped back into your world and live to tell the tale. What a story to tell at the next fish cocktail party!

And it happens, more often than you would think. Some other bird comes along and tries to take you away from "Your" bird. Maybe another Osprey or even an Eagle. There are at least two pairs of Bald Eagles that I have seen here. Also Buzzards, Hawks and of course Ducks, Crows and Seagulls.

Across the road is the Bay. In the mornings the sun rises above The Bay, beautiful I am sure, but here on The Lake we also get to see the beauty of the Sunrise. As the Sun rises I am often sitting in my armchair with my first coffee of the day watching the sky turn from darkness to a variety of colors, usually pink, but it can vary depending on the time of year and the kind of clouds, or even no clouds. Every morning, like every snowflake, is different. As the sun climbs higher and gets above the rooftops it first begins to hit the trees on the far shore of The Lake. This can be breathtaking, especially in the fall when it literally looks as though the trees are on fire. The "Fire" spreads quickly as the sun's light reaches further and higher until soon the whole forest is "ablaze". Even before that happens The Lake itself begins to "Burn". Just as the conflagration is about to reach a flash-point the light softens and morning arrives. At this time The Lake, which had been up to now a mirror, starts to move. Tiny ripples disturb its smooth surface. They grow as the breeze increases and life returns to The Lake. Fish start breaking, birds start diving into the water. A Great Blue Heron lands on my pier and another appears in the water wading along with its eyes fixed on something. Suddenly, there is the "something", struggling briefly in the Heron's bill before it is swiftly swallowed in one smooth movement. Almost without a break the Heron snatches up another fish and yet another.

Meanwhile the first Osprey of the day has arrived for his (her?) breakfast.

And so it goes. Never a dull moment on The lake.

Soon, sometimes all too soon, the sun starts to go down. We have lived here for 4 years now, 4 years and 5 months or about 1600 sunsets! No two the same. As you can imagine we have not seen all of them, but I have seen a lot of them. When we take a trip, sunsets on The Lake are one of the losses that I have to take into consideration when I make the decision on whether or not to go! You have to see a Sunset on The Lake to understand this.

I could probably go on for hours talking about The Lake. Obviously this is impossible. For one thing you'd be bored out of your teeth, but more importantly, I would not be able to watch The lake!!

But I will take a few minutes to list some of the other things that make The Lake better than The Bay.

We have a beautiful pair of White Swans here. There are all kinds of Ducks, including of course Mallards and the little Diving Ducks, as well as numerous other Ducks that I don't even know the names of. Then there are the Cormorants. Sometimes there are just a few Cormorants. But one year there were literally hundreds! There are even land based birds, mostly what we call LBJ birds (Little Brown Jobs) I have of course already mentioned the Eagles, Buzzards, Osprey, Great Blue Heron, Seagulls, Crows and Ducks. But there are others that we did identify using our Birds of North America book. These include, Bittern, Night Heron, Egret, Great White Heron, Tern, Woodpecker, Dove, Owl, Kingfisher, Swift, Hummingbird, Hawk, Falcon, Canada Goose, then of course there are all the LBJ's, not to mention others that we were unable to identify. Of course many of those that we did identify had several different types in the same species.

Other than birds? Yes, fish - Carp, White Perch, Yellow Perch, Shad, Herring, Sunfish, Minnows, Eel, Catfish, Pike, Shrimp, Turtles, Frog, Snake, Crab, Clam, and I'm sure that I missed some.

More? How about animals? Deer yes but rarely, Possum, Raccoon, Fox, Mice. Trees? Lots of beautiful trees including of course Maple, Various Oaks, Holly with many red berries, Locust, Poplar, Cherry, Willow and many more.

Yes The Lake wins hands down.


Those who know me know that I like numbers.

I just heard that Chicago passed 500 gun deaths for the year. I tried to check those figures, but it is hard. I think that is just murders by gun, but I am not sure. But I am sure that if we add in accidents and suicides it would be well over 500. That is like 20 Newtowns - in just ONE American City! Can you imagine that? More than 20 Newtowns!! in just ONE city. To put it another way 30,000 gun deaths a year in the US or well over 1,000 Newtowns!!

These figures are just unbelievable. ONE HUNDRED TIMES HIGHER than many other civilized countries! And still we say "Guns don't kill people"! The murder rate by gun in just ONE American city is higher than the murder rate, or death rate, in countries AT WAR!! You would be safer in Iraq, or Afghanistan than in Chicago!!

And we defend our right to own guns! We would KILL to allow Criminals to own guns, Alcoholics to own guns, Wife beaters to own guns, Mental patients to own guns, ANYONE to own guns!

We want anyone to be able to legally own a gun without a thorough background check, without even being registered or being fingerprinted. Yet to own a dog you need to have it registered and get a license. But not a gun!

Want to drive? You have to take a written test, and a driving test, and get a license, and your car has to be registered. For a gun? Nothing! Nada. You can walk in to a "Gun Show" and buy a gun without any record of the transaction at all! You don't even have to know how to fire it! In many states the laws are the same as a gun show - anyone can get any weapon for any, or no, reason. Including assault weapons with 100 round magazines, or hand grenades, or machine guns, mortars, maybe even missiles? Just to defend yourself against a mugger!

You can even buy assault guns at Department stores - like Walmart! What next? At Safeway? At 7-11? Who knows, anything is possible in this crazy country.

If this isn't ABSOLUTELY CRAZY then I don't know what is.