February 26, 2010

Postcard: The Classic Duck River

Columbia, Tennessee
(Used - postmark 1908)

The Duck River in Middle Tennessee is the longest river located entirely within the state. It is also one of the longest free-flowing rivers in the eastern United States, and it is considered one of the most biologically diverse rivers in North America. Its latest honor is the designation by National Geographic as one of four sites that are the most biologically richest places in the world.

The National Geographic article, "Within One Cubic Foot, Miniature Surveys of Biodiversity," appears in the February 2010 issue of the magazine. For the survey, National Geographic used a 12-inch tank, dipped into the water, to determine the bounty of life at each location. For the Duck River survey, a spot was chosen at Lillard Mill 15-miles east of Columbia.

The Duck River flows for over 290 miles through seven counties before merging into the Tennessee River and provides recreation and drinking water for more than 250,000 Tennesseans. Along its route is a 37-mile stretch designated as a State Scenic River and an area that is part of the Tennessee National Wildlife Refuge. It is home to more than 650 species, more than found in all of the streams of Europe combined, and includes 150 fish species and more freshwater mussel species than any river in the Southeast.

Major towns along the Duck include Manchester, Shelbyville, Columbia, and Centerville. In 1973, construction of the Columbia Dam was begun on the Duck to be a TVA reservoir. The dam was meant for flood control and recreation, and not to produce electricity. Work was halted in 1983 after the dam was 90% complete when two endangered species of mussel were found. After determining that costs would far exceed benefits, the project was abandoned in 1995. The largely completed dam was dismantled and the area is now the Yanahli Wildlife Preserve.

The diversity and wealth of life in the Duck River is credited to the river being part of an ancient watershed where its water has streamed over a limestone base for millions of years. Through the years, care has been given to keep the river flowing free and clean. The postcard (postmarked 1908) calls it the "Classic Duck River," and indeed it is.

— Dan Hardison

February 19, 2010

Moon's Benediction

Haiku and image by Dan Hardison
Pastel and handmade paper

World Haiku Association, January 2010

February 12, 2010

Winter's Tease

The last days of winter
filled with ice and snow
have brought a longing
for spring to come.

But today feels like spring
with its warm air and sunshine,
and a sense of renewal
that has long been absent.

Birds have taken flight
in search of new surroundings
and squirrels have ventured out
in the warmth of their world.

But this wonderful day
is only a tease
of what our thoughts
have been longing for.

For tomorrow will be
another winter day
and the cold and gloom
will feel even worse . . .
after winter's tease
of what's to come.

— Dan Hardison

Photo by Dan Hardison
Bledsoe County, Tennessee

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February 5, 2010

Weather Note

The snow has gone,
But the naked tree
Has yet no bird
For us to see:

Against the sky
The tree stands tall,
Wanting a bird,
Shapely and small,

To break the lean
Black bough austere, –
And break the frozen
Silence, here,

With a spring note,
Startling as thunder,
On ears awaiting
That first wonder.

David Morton
From his book "Angle of Earth and Sky," 1941.

Photo by Dan Hardison
Wilmington, North Carolina

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