November 30, 2010
Well, it’s howling again outside, and no, it’s not the sound of Smudge the wonder kitty lodging a complaint about the food service around here. Big winds tonight, but this time they come from the southeast, and bring nearly balmy temps of 41 degrees rather than the last storm’s bone-chilling 15. So I thought it would be nice to post three photos I took through the window a couple of weeks ago, as a reminder (mostly to myself) that the seas around here usually aren’t quite so daunting.
It’s easier to work under these conditions, that’s for sure. The studio house is warm, the windows look more like calm reflecting ponds than the fun-house mirrors they became a week ago, and the structure only shakes, quakes and groans occasionally from these gusts, predicted to get as high as 60 MPH. I’m plowing my artistic way through a number of pieces simultaneously, energized by the negative ions in the air and the looming deadlines on my calendar. I write this little entry as I run one of two track mixes I’m delivering tonight, before copying out the parts for a short string orchestra piece premiering in L.A. in January. Soon I’ll resume composing for the rest of the long night. It feels wonderful.
There’ve been lots of sea mammals floating by my desk the past few weeks, in the form of otters (seen, bow to stern, in the second and third pics), harbor seals (pic one), Steller sea lions (coming soon to a blog near you) and random kayakers (doubtful here; until they grow fur or a cool looking shell, humans are far less interesting). About three days ago, I really wanted to get a photo of the very first river otter I’ve ever seen outside of the water. At first glance, the corner of my eye thought it was a ridiculously large cat, or a raccoon who lost his stripes in a bad bar bet. As soon as I realized what this lush, dark auburn furred creature was, it loped off of my deck and back onto the rocks in the cove below before I could pick up the camera. Next time.
Tonight I’ll stay in the studio and keep all this wind company. But much of the time I commute home, and enjoy decompressing on the drive down the island. Two nights ago as I closed the front door and began walking the few yards to my car, I heard the most amazing, other-worldly roaring from behind me: sea lions who had come ashore next to the house and were making sounds I don’t think I can imitate no matter how much bourbon I’ve had to drink. Had I not already closed up shop, I would have recorded it (not only for kelphistos to hear, but for my next piece!). Next time.
Also in the Pinniped Daily News Update, I’m hoping to get some great close-up pictures to show you of what it looks like when an eleven foot long Steller sea lion chows down on a large squid. I’ve been watching this show daily. Here’s a preview: pink, white, and rather messy. Lots of flailing, violent head shaking and splashing, accompanied by a riot of seagulls who have a charmingly parasitic relationship to these beasts, and flock at the chance to snag some of the… uh, leavings… left behind in the struggle. That’s a lot of tentacles to contend with, after all. File this latest report under “fresh ink.”