"I'm going to speak my mind because I have nothing to lose."--S.I. Hayakawa

Saturday, May 25, 2019

A Litter Story about Various Body Parts

I told the body we were going for a nice stroll in Silvertip and all I needed was a little help in picking up some litter.  That was met with silence, which I took as agreement, so I got everything ready to go, and backed the truck out out of the garage.

We weren’t even out of the driveway when the left shoulder cried, “Dibs on the grab stick!”

“No way!” yelled the right hand.  “That’s my job!  You carry the litter bag”

“When do I get a turn with the grab stick?” screamed the left shoulder.

“Never.  It’s my job and you’re too slow!” said the right hand.

Then the ankles said, “Are we there yet?”

I swallowed two Aleve and crammed the ear plugs in my ears.

Once at Silvertip, we started walking along Six Mile Creek where the river rafters defy death in Class V rapids.  It’s a beautiful area.  The highway winds around mountains on fairly level terrain.

After we’d been walking for a while, the usual suspects started in.
“How come I always have to carry the heavy bag?” sniveled the left shoulder.

The right wrist blames me for giving it carpal tunnel syndrome, and—in truth—it’s right.    So, it was no surprise when the hand started whining about going numb began.

“Are we done yet?” mumbled the ankles.

We weren’t done, not by a long shot.   Behind a guard rail where the bike trail and Six Mile are  adjacent to the highway, we came upon a million little pieces of wrecked car and a semi’s blown tire.  What should have been an easy 15-minute walk or less, turned into more than an hour.   I dreaded going down the other side of the road and finding more of this mess.

I was right to dread the other side.   Pieces of vehicle body part were scattered all over kingdom come.

"I'm gonna be sick!" said the stomach.

"Me, too." I replied.  “It’s quite a mess.”

"No, I mean it. I'm hungry and I'm, gonna be sick."

"Hey, you had a Slim Fast Cappucino Delight already."

"That was hours ago."

"AND a sandwich."

"You call whipped cream cheese and ripe olives on one piece of Dave's thin-sliced Powerseed bread a sandwich??"

"Just hang on. There are mandarin oranges in the truck."

“ARE WE DONE YET!!!” demanded the ankles. 

The shoulder was in tears and the right hand, being numb, had nothing to say whatsoever. 

 The bag was heavy.   I needed to drop it.   The left shoulder couldn’t carry it anymore.

Then we found the sledge hammer.   The sledge hammer that broke the body’s back.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

A Story about Birds, and Litter, and Tears

I held a wee yellow bird in my hand this afternoon. The saucy black cap on the top of its head immediately identified it as a Wilson's warbler, one of my favorite birds.

Not an hour before, at a different location, I waited for another Wilson's to perch in the open and hold still long enough for me to focus my lens on it. That was not to be. In and out of the willows like a streak of yellow lightning, it teased me on and on. 

Every time I tried to leave, it zipped across the trail in front of me, only to disappear. Then, when I tried to move, back it came, dancing through the willows and alders and spruce. 

Little yellow guy won. I left to go pick up litter some miles down the road.

Not long after I began walking along the highway with my grab stick and yellow litter bag, I found the little bird. Its life spirit was gone, no doubt the result of a collision with a moving vehicle.

My heart cried as I picked it up and held it. So tiny, so tiny I had to take my glove off to pick it up. How can they fly so fast?

I was not in a good spot to leave it for its final rest, so I slipped it in the breast pocket of my safety vest. I looked down at it once in a while, as it rode high in the pocket, buoyed by some tissue.

Finally I came to a small creek and walked to the edge of the spruce forest. There, between two spruce stumps, was a perfect resting spot with a conk growing from one stump that will shelter little yellow from the rains.

I told him how sorry I was and went on my way. I tried not to think of the inevitable, but that's like telling your eyes not to see or your ears not to hear. Is there a lady warbler on a nest, wondering why he hasn't returned?

And a while later, I held a hermit thrush in my hand, its striking feathers the color of hot milk chocolate. I carried it in the same pocket until I came to a spruce tree and laid it to rest.

Too much. Too much for one day.

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Black and White

Something a little different:

This female American wigeon was in silhouette in the evening light.  I monkeyed with the camera to bring out some details and that led to the white background.

At the opposite side of the spectrum, I intentionally went for a dark background for this greater scaup drake

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Rainy, Windy, and Foggy

Went on a whale-watching cruise Sunday out of Seward, in the hope of seeing gray whales.

This is what we saw:

There were a few glances of a young humpback:

Oh, a dorsal fin!

Another of the dorsal fin.

And a wee bit of a tail.

The best action was on shore while waiting for the cruise boat to board.   A sub-adult bald eagle was chased by gulls and decided it wanted to land on the same boat mast where another bald eagle was perched.

Either that or it was running to mommy....

Sitting there, minding its own business

Here comes the sub adult, flying away from the gulls.

Looking for a place to escape the pesky gulls.

The adult turns to face the incoming eagle

Hard to tell one eagle from the other.

The adult stayed put and the youngster went to another mast.

So, there was more action onshore than off this day.

Unless, of course, you enjoy watching rainwater pour off the upper deck of the cruise boat.