Friday, August 1, 2008
God’s country (part 2 - the photograph)
I didn’t take the photo in today’s and yesterday’s post myself, so I am not able in good conscience to post it today on SkyWatch, but I am related to the person who did take it, and I was there when it happened, so I ought to know.
The photograher was my son. I was sitting about six feet away from him on a pontoon boat in the middle of Lake Lure, North Carolina, when he captured this unforgettable view. Fifteen of us in all had taken a two-hour cruise (I wish I could say “a three-hour tour” to make you think of Bob Denver and all the gang on Gilligan’s Island, but that just wouldn’t be true). There were six in our family plus a forty-ish couple from Michigan, another family of six from Macon, Georgia, and the captain/narrator of our voyage, a local summer resident whose lives the rest of the year in Tampa, Florida.
The brown haziness in the photograph is due partly to the fact that a small forest fire, apparently caused by lightning earlier in the afternoon, was burning high up on another part of Sugarloaf Mountain, out of sight on the left. We had seen it up close earlier on our cruise. The local folks were doing their best to put it out; we saw a helicopter outfitted with a large bucket suspended from a rope come to fill the bucket with more water from Lake Lure, then fly back to drop the water on the fire. So there was quite a bit of smoke in the sky, but it made the photograph take on an interesting quality that I am unable to define.
We were in Buffalo Bay in the middle of the lake when my son took the picture. Our guide said Lake Lure was over a hundred feet deep at that point. Then he let our grandson, soon to be twelve, take the helm or wheel or throttle or whatever it was for about five minutes, to his and everyone else’s delight, as we began the trip back to the north end of the lake. Whether it was a grand, generous gesture on the guide’s part or merely trolling for a big tip, I’m not sure, but it certainly made Matthew’s day.
I’m sorry I couldn’t put this on SkyWatch, but maybe some of you will tell a few friends, and they’ll tell a few friends....
[I wanted to post a picture here of the cast of Gilligan’s Island, but all the ones I found were copyrighted, the best-laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley and all that, so you’ll just have to picture them all in your mind’s eye: Gilligan, the Skipper, Ginger, Mary Ann, and -- who could forget? -- Mr. and Mrs. Thurston Howell, III.]