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Day 63: Photo Challenge, The River Bed: Peace Among the Ancients

I went to a special place where I used to take my sons searching for fossils. It’s called the Ladonia Fossil Park on the North Sulphur RIver and it is a river bed rich with fossil gastropods, belemites and even some shark teeth.

The first thing I noticed was a huge swarm of cliff swallows. Under the bridge there were nests of mud and I could see them swarming in one area on the river bed gathering mud to build more nests, I wished I had a 500mm lens because they were just far away enough to be too far for a 300mm.

Down the dinosaur sized steps to the river I walked taking pictures as I got closer to the bridge. There were only two other people there, two insignificant dots on a grand expanse of dried up riverbed. The moment you get to the bottom, you hear the buzz of the swallows and the rush of a shallow stream on the rip rap.

What strikes me is the silence and connection with nature, It’s a little uncomfortable being so alone and yet I loved the quiet and introspection. I walked on the rocks and soft mud chasing small fish in the shallows and listening to the birds in the tree line along the edge of the river.

I found a few belemites, straight-shelled squid, and a few brachiopods but more than anything I found peace and calm. In that silence I found, amidst fragments of ancient shells and bones, a hint of what I want to do.

I am collecting places, the places that others might overlook. I want to show how nature can restore the soul and how integral to our well-being. Next I go to the Caddo National Grasslands….

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Written by stevelinebaugh

Oil painter and pastel artist, writer, photographer, graphic designer,
originally from New Jersey

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