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LMRD 721, May 3, 2019
Lower Mississippi River Dispatch
~Voice of the Lower Mississippi River~



Close to Heaven: Images from Paradise



Last week Quapaw Canoe Company partnered with the Walter Anderson Museum for a week-long artist's retreat on Horn Island, a paradise much like our beloved Mississippi River Islands...



The island was overflowing with the exuberance of life, especially birds and sea creatures...



Brown Pelicans and Dolphins were prevalent....





But also many others: lots of waterfowl like these lesser yellowlegs...



Many were in their annual mating ritual, such as these Royal Terns...



Laughing gulls singing a mating duet...



Lots of Ghost Crabs (pictured above) and Hermit Crabs...



Horn Island was the sanctuary for legendary Mississippi naturalist & prolific artist, Walter Anderson (here sketched from face mask on display at museum). His attention to the wild island probably saved it for perpetuity as one of the Barrier Islands in the Gulf Islands Nat'l Seashore...



Beauty was all around us, everywhere you looked, the yin-yang of life was in full swing between creation and destruction -- as such, not everything was alive, lots of uninhabited shells...



And dead creatures, children not always so lucky in this cruel world, such as this young Rosy Grosbeak, which I found in the surf, probably drowned in its first attempted flight...



Dead Catfish...



Dead Horseshoe Crab...



Dead Scaup (?)



An amazing variety of plant life also (These Gladiolas (?) found on Round Island)...



Slash Pine... (Osprey nest -- dozens of mating pairs sighted)...



Palmetto...



Prickly Pear Cactus...



And insects... Like this moth... Some butterflies, dragonflies, mosquitoes, no-see-ums, many others...



And the warm, green, Gulf of Mexico, constantly a presence, reaching towards our camp, sometimes calm & rhythmic...



Sometimes wild & unruly....



One day while swimming a nearby dolphin slapped her tail on a crashing wave and sent a shower of spray into the air, which created a misty rainbow above the surf...



I felt like I was strung between heaven-on-earth and heaven-in-the-sky, night time walks under the glistening stars with phosphoresence sparkling underneath the wet sand in the receding tide...





Thanks to artist Robin Whitfield for serving as 1st Mate...



Thanks to Julian Rankin and staff from the Walter Anderson Museum! (And all of the crew from the islander expedition! Paddles up to everyone for a great week on the island.... Everyone an important link in the chain, the Grashopper Canoe, designed for the rigors of the Great Lakes, was the perfect vessel for the challenges of the Mississippi Sound and the Gulf of Mexico.







Yes, there are gators! (This guy was headed for a swim in the Mississippi Sound when our paths crossed...



Happiness is a tent, a sketchpad, a canoe -- and a wild, remote island!