Through a Glass Darkly for Sept. 19, 2012

By Bob Anderson

For those of us who live beyond the limits of cities or even spots in the road that call themselves communities, hurricanes bring strange visitors.

The strange visitors aren’t the aunts and in-laws city dwellers might get overnight during a storm.

When winds start blowing down trees and water begins to rise, people aren’t likely to evacuate to where we live.

Our evacuees don’t call ahead or ring the doorbell when they arrive. It’s impossible to predict what species we will host for a particular storm.

Not winds, but water usually sends evacuees our way.

The latest is Gorgeous George.

I begged my wife, not to name him. When she names animals they usually become permanent residents of Anderson Acres.

I plan a serious discussion with Gorgeous George informing him it’s time to swim back to the Amite River now that Isaac’s high waters have departed.

It’s only natural that Mary, an animal lover from Oklahoma, was excited to see George, but I’m not sure where she came up with the name.

George isn’t even as pretty as the snapping turtles that are permanent residents of our pond and is nowhere as gorgeous as the otters, beavers, ducks, loons and herons that have visited.

After all, George is an alligator. Even small alligators aren’t much to behold unless you’re a tourist or a Midwest transplant.

I wouldn’t mind if Mary named the other visitors that have stayed since Isaac.

They’re fun to watch, but too numerous and fast for even Mary to name.

She did hang a second hummingbird feeder for them. As I write this, about a dozen of the tiny birds vie for eight perches, relentlessly diving at each other to gain a swig of nectar. If they lined up and took numbers, they would save a lot of energy.

Hummingbirds make better guests than some evacuees of storms past. About 30 years ago a major flood brought snakes. Previously bitten, I picked off the cottonmouths from a second-story window as they swam in the pond that had swollen into my yard.

I hadn’t seen that many snakes since a flood in Assumption Parish when I was a boy.

I remember hordes of mosquitoes that blew in during one storm when I was a boy, and in another since I have lived in Livingston Parish. They made cutting up limbs even more miserable.

The latest storm brought a couple of daylight deer sightings, which are especially fun when the animals are in full sprint.

Still, the deer weren’t as impressive as seeing a black bear at the edge of the woods near the Amite River during a flood a couple of decades ago.

That excited me as much as Gorgeous George excited Mary. Still, neither George nor the bear would make a good long-term guest.

Advocate Florida Parishes bureau chief Bob Anderson welcomes comments by email to banderson@
theadvocate.com.