Archive for April, 2012

Sunday morning walk

Sunday, April 29th, 2012

[IMAGE] eagle mom and chick

…click to listen:

…about the music

An old lullaby from this chick’s 80’s synth era, for this new chick.

Above: a heartening sign of spring. There are actually two fuzz-balls in that nest, but only one kept poking its head up to see what the world looked like this morning. I don’t blame the other one. I often refuse to poke my head up to see what the world, or even my coffeemaker, look like this early in the day.

It’s worth noting that the “nest” is about one ton’s worth of everything you see below the chick’s head, resting 80 feet or more up the incredibly strong branches of a Douglas fir. Eagles’ nests should be included in the seven wonders of the world.

When I made plans a few days ago to take a nature walk with friends on Sunday at the crack of dawn*, I failed to remember that I’d be at a late-running, wine-infused dinner party with other friends the night before [*Okay, not the crack of dawn, but 9am, which feels very much like the crack of dawn to me. Especially when I blithely, dumbly smile and blurt out, "Oh! Come over for coffee around 8:15."]. What was I thinking??

I don’t know what I was thinking. But I’m awfully glad that I wasn’t thinking, “now that’s a silly idea; you’re not a morning person, and you’ll want to sleep in.” No, thank goodness I wasn’t thinking that. Actually, thank goodness I just wasn’t thinking. Otherwise, I would have missed out on the mama and chickie above, seen on this morning’s deeply peaceful walk through the wildflower-infused meadows and prairie land to which I gaze from my desk every day. American Camp is among my favorite places on planet Earth. And stunningly, I can see my house from it. I am beyond grateful to live where I do.

So, in the wee hours that most normal people refer to as “morning” and which I refer to as “the middle of the friggin’ night,” my pals and I, accompanied by very kind Ranger Doug of the National Park Service, filled our lungs with the unspeakably wonderful scent-combo of overcast sea air and newly blooming plants, and ambled through the windless, almost-warm almost-mist. To the east is Griffin Bay:

[IMAGE] Griffin Bay

With buttercups and green green spring green grasses in the foreground.

[IMAGE] redoubt

[IMAGE] Griffin Bay

Mount Finlayson looms between the two “sides” of San Juan Island on its narrow southern edge. At 392 feet, it’s far from a mighty “mountain,” except to the perception of my pathetic thigh muscles each time I summit, which during the remarkably steep incline of the final 50 yards, deem it not only Mighty but Supreme and Omnipotent.
No, we did not climb it this particular morning.
I guess I was thinking, after all. Just a little.

[IMAGE] hill view

Here’s the view from the top, looking west at Vancouver Island, in a photo taken last summer when my muscles were more awake:

[IMAGE] hill view

And here it is in the other direction, from which you can see the atolls strewn off the south of Lopez Island:

[IMAGE] hill view

That was last summer. But it looked remarkably similar this morning. Not much changes here.

Meanwhile a fox hung out on a far more climb-friendly rock, and took in the view to the sea, and to the rabbits…

[IMAGE] fox

As did an immature bald eagle….

[IMAGE] eagle

As its parent went grocery shopping…

[IMAGE] eagle

And a pair of geese reflected on what the day might bring, while the sea reflected their beauty.

[IMAGE] geese

All the while, mama and chick calmly observed.

[IMAGE] eagles

I don’t know what they’re thinking. But I’m so glad I wasn’t thinking. So, so glad.

Squawking and stalking

Friday, April 27th, 2012

[IMAGE] laughing gull

…click to listen:

…about the music

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Yes, gulls have tongues.
And they laugh.
At me.

Composers are fragile creatures. We toil and stress over every note, every measure, every nuance of each phrasing mark.
This visage, in front of me as I strive for utter, unobtainable-but-yet-neurotically-necessary perfection,
is not especially helpful.

He doesn’t care.
He just laughs.
At me.
And waits.

It’s easy to be paranoid when one of these guys just won’t take no for an answer.
Everywhere I turn my gaze, there he is.
Laughing at me.

[IMAGE] gull

Looking at me.

[IMAGE] gull

Staring at me.

[IMAGE] gull

Occasionally trying to be coy, as if I won’t notice he’s there. But in his mind I know he’s laughing.

[IMAGE] gull

And, expecting table service.

[IMAGE] gull

The nerve.

Like a whale out of water

Saturday, April 14th, 2012

[IMAGE] orca wannabes

…click to listen:

…about the music

Something funny on the black and whites, for these funny black and whites.

It’s an exciting time of year around here: Orca Watch 2012.
Well, for me, at least.
This post of mine from last summer explains why. We’re quickly approaching the season when the resident pods of orca whales– J, K and L (thanks to the nice folks at the Whale Museum, you can read about this weird naming process here), return to this part of the shoreline to get their fill of the salmon running yards from my toes (I wish the fish realized they could save me a trip down to the dock by simply flinging themselves right onto my grill).

Since their traditional departure from the San Juans in mid October, I’ve missed these creatures. I call them my “floating pandas,” and despite their bad rap as Killer Whales, they really are quite adorable. Sometimes they swim by so close to the rocks and kelp beds, that I could just about reach out and pet them.
Don’t worry, I won’t.
Besides, I’m quite certain they’re terrified of me. Really. They call our species Killer Humans, because we murder and eat cows and sheep and pigs and all sorts of mammals just as cute as sea lions, without a second’s thought or remorse.
Heck, as far as the orcas know, they could be next.

Tiding me over throughout the six months of provisional orca deprivation (P.O.D.) has been the most kitsch item in my house, (ok, next to Big Mouth Billy the Singing Bass, and oh, that fabulous Santa hat with the antlers, tree decorations, and light-up red nose):

[IMAGE] Santler Claus
I can’t believe I just posted this pic.

A pair of salt and pepper shakers.
Not just any pair.
A pair that I found last year right here in little Friday Harbor, that gives me so much joy I might need to start watching my sodium intake.

So when I am missing this:

[IMAGE] orcas spyhopping
Thanks to Jeanne Hyde for this shot from her beautiful blog,
Whale of a ‘Purpose’!


I can always have this!:

[IMAGE] salt and pepper spyhopping

Quick! Someone save me from myself before I put a little swaying hula girl on my dashboard to tide me over until my next trip to Maui. Please…

A goose taking a gander

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

[IMAGE] goose

…click to listen:

…about the music

The view from here.

I wonder if this goose, clearly having a deeply pensive, introspective moment, is thinking about filing taxes on time.

Turner Classic

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

[IMAGE] fogrise

…click to listen:

…about the music

Out from the fog.

No, not Ted Turner and his classic movie channel.
Joseph Mallord William Turner. The sublime British watercolorist and painter.

A lone gull and I stood early this morning, entranced.

[IMAGE] sunfogrise

Well, I guess I was the one who was entranced. The gull was just looking for breakfast.

[IMAGE] sunfogrise