I used by Nikon water camera to take this photo from my kayak on Lake Hartwell, and I have no idea what the settings were! I just love the way the sunlight touched every inch of this tree. There’s even water reflections on it’s bark. They are just hard to see.  When I paddle the river, I always look up at the trees because they seem to have so much to say. In the spring espeically, I catch myself calling out to them to “Wake Up,” much like Lucy did in Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. In the fall, they are losing their summer luster but certainly not their beauty.

We never paddle alone. Well, I guess I might try it nearer the park at Hwy 123, but it’s better to take a friend with you—just in case you need help, water, a power bar, conversation, or help getting in and out of your boat!

Story time: This is my favorite tree along the Tugaloo River. It’s a Black Willow and it’s native to this area. My guess is the Cherokee used its bark for medicine. Here’s what I found about the tree after a quick internet search: “Willow bark acts a lot like aspirin, so it’s used for pain, including headaches, muscle pain, rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, gout, and more!

“Willow bark’s pain relieving potential has been recognized throughout history. It was commonly used during the time of Hippocrates, when people were advised to chew on the bark to relieve pain and fever. It’s also used for fever, the common cold, flu, and weight loss!

But there is a dark side: “Salicin, similar to aspirin and the active ingredient in willow bark, seems to have contributed to the death of the composer, Ludwig von Beethoven.” Yikes!

“Apparently, Beethoven ingested large amounts of salicin before he died. His autopsy report is the first recorded case of a particular type of kidney damage that can be caused by salicin.” Not a happy ending!

So, let’s not eat our Black Willow Bark! Just enjoy the view from beneath one of these really beautiful, romantic, southern trees.

Always a selfie. Why not?!

Pretty much perfect afternoon. Cooler temperatures. Mountains in the background and the colors of a setting sun! Not too much more to ask for in this world.

This is the back of the Cherokee Indian mound in the headwaters of Lake Hartwell—one of my favorite places to hang out and talk with friends.

Before I took this photo, I sat in my kayak for several minutes and never heard a passing car or a bird calling out. It was total quietness—the kind of quiet that brings rest to your heart and soul. And also the kind that refreshes and prepares you for the next day. Paddle the Tugaloo River often and watch as your stress level decreases, and your contentment level goes up!