Stream Sitting: Me, in My Native Habitat

June 17 is always a big day at our house. This day was my husband's birthday. It was also my parents' 65th wedding anniversary. My husband had requested that we take the day off and go do something to have some fun. And so we planned an outdoor adventure that might include swimming, and eventually eating out somewhere.

I have mentioned that my oldest sister is in a hospital in the Harrisburg area. When I spoke with her first thing Sunday morning, to tell her I would come down to visit her in the hospital either Sunday or Monday, she (the Original Barefoot Girl) requested that, instead, I go stick my feet in an icy cold mountain stream in her honor.

I did visit her on Monday. And on this day, I finally got to honor her wishes and stick my feet in a mountain stream. (And it was all for my sister; of course, you understand this.)  ;-)

My husband and I left home early, and we had time to go stream walking in Hyner Run before the swimming pool at the state park opened at 11 am. The water was cold and clear and beautiful. I even made a new friend: a tiny brown salamander I found in the rocks by the creek.

And you can't see any of them in this picture, but the place was just FULL of butterflies! There were white butterflies and yellow butterflies and red-spotted purples and several other kinds I didn't get close enough to identify. I was reminded of my oldest sister, as she adores butterflies, and even has a tattoo of one on her back.

There is a Native American legend that if you capture a butterfly and whisper a wish to it, and then release it, because the butterfly cannot speak, it can only reveal that wish to the Great Spirit who watches over all.

So, no, I did not capture any butterflies, as it is my general policy where they are concerned (unless the butterfly is in distress and requires rescue) to look but not touch. But I did whisper all of my wishes and prayers for my sister's recovery to each butterfly who came close enough to hear, and I watched as they bore my wishes aloft to the heavens.

And I sent my prayers and my wishes for healing into the cold, clear waters, for they eventually flow into the mighty Susquehanna, which runs by the hospital where my sister lies.

I did wonder if any of my butterflies might also make its way past her hospital window to keep watch over my sister personally, but I admit I do not know how far most butterflies travel. So if you read any strange stories in the coming few days about a large group of butterflies surrounding Pinnacle West Shore Hospital in Mechanicsburg, stop and smile -  it just may have been my doing . . .  !   :-)

And then we stream walked, and we even put my husband's chair in the water and took turns doing some stream sitting. This is the June version of stream sitting. The July and August (hotter months) versions generally feature a bathing suit and a lower chair, such that one's little rare bod can actually be submerged in the refreshingly cold water.

This is one of the very few photos in this journal (I can only think of one other) that I did not take myself. My husband was sitting on a lovely wooden bench on shore, and I was sitting in his chair in the water waving and smiling.

So let's consider this a picture of me, in my native habitat, which is to say, enjoying the wild woods and waters of my beloved central Pennsylvania. That green, rocky outcrop behind me may look familiar, as you saw it before in this prior photo, along with a wider view of the creek.

We ate our sandwiches from home as a late breakfast, and we went and swam for hours, and it was all delightful and fun. And then we packed up our bags and headed on to my husband's next birthday request: a meal out, at Kentucky Fried Chicken (aka, KFC).

We do not have a KFC in the State College area anymore. So we stopped in Lock Haven on our way back from Hyner Run, and we each got the $5 fill-up meal. He had the three-piece strips. I had the two-piece dark meat meal. Each was accompanied by a double serving of mashed potatoes and gravy, a biscuit, a drink, and a cookie. All of that for five bucks! I adore KFC cole slaw, so I added an individual serving of that as well.

We ate everything we wanted, and we tucked the rest in the cooler for later and headed home. And what was waiting for me on e-mail but good news about my sister: she was doing somewhat better, and was going to be moved from the Intensive Care Unit into a private room. Hooray! I was dancing a jig!

And then my husband opened the front door and hollered, "Honey, here's your chance! The Micro-Buns are out here! Grab your camera!" And out I went, and there in the Bun Zone (now the Bunny Nursery, apparently; more of the back story here) were two tiny bunnies, the offspring of Mini Bunzini, grazing on grass and clover. This (see extra photos) was my very first glimpse of the one bun, and as you can see, it is not even as tall as the smallest clovers.

Even better, the Micro-Buns were putting on a binky show! Each bun is about the size of a chipmunk. And they pop around like popcorn! The tiny bun would be sitting there minding its own business. And then suddenly - POP! - it would fly in the air, changing directions and bouncing all at once.

And then it would land, and sit there looking startled, like, "What the heck just happened?!?" I submit to you, my friends (and I am one who adores kittens especially), that there may be almost no cuter creature in the world than a binkying baby bunny. Double the fun: what if you had TWO!? SQUEE!!!

And later in the evening, when we got peckish, my husband and I finished up the delicious KFC leftovers. For the food lovers, a photo of our evening snack is included in the extra photos area. I am particularly fond of KFC cole slaw, and it was marvelous. Even better, I had a few bites left for tomorrow.

Before the evening was done, I spoke with my parents (my father, 85; my mother, still 84 until October) on the phone and wished them a happy anniversary. I hope we will see them soon and when I do, I will wish it to them then in person, as well.

I have a song that is a favorite that seems perfect for this occasion. Alison Krauss performs it in the soundtrack to the marvelous film O Brother Where Art Thou. Some people pray only in churches. Country girls sometimes pray with their feet in a cold mountain stream, and send their prayers aloft to God's listening ears via butterflies. Here is the incomparable Alison Krauss, with Down to the River to Pray.

O sisters let's go down
Let's go down, come on down
O sisters let's go down
Down in the river to pray

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