Charming animal visitors may not be quite the right descriptive term but we had visitors yesterday. Orcas. Six or so. And these guys were big! This was not a pod so much as a chapter, a gang, a cartel of marine bad boys. I saw three huge dorsal fins and I couldn’t help but get the feeling that this group was lookin’ for trouble.
Or dolphins. A seal or two, at the very least. Look out! They looked mean and hungry.
‘Course, in a way, I am only joking. Orcas don’t really ’emote’ much. It is hard to read their facial expressions. They don’t seem to really have faces! They have ‘sides’ instead. They just seem to roll along, a little up, a little down. Cruisin’. You might catch a glimpse of one tiny eye. And, even then, little if anything is revealed. A few well-placed and loud pssssts will, however, get your attention. But they don’t really ‘do’ much. They do virtually glisten wet with force, power and potential violence, though. They have a huge presence. They just ‘feel’ like danger-in-the-water. Oooooooh……..
I dunno…………..you really had to be here, I guess.
And they give me a chance to launch into a bit more description about our environs. We do have a lot of eagles and ravens and herons and such. And woodpeckers, kingfishers, and a gazillion other little birds. And they are all marvelous. Gorgeous. Magnificent. But, I confess, they are here everyday and, while that does not breed contempt, there comes with such frequent exposure at least a little familiarity. I don’t always look up and appreciate them. I am a bit used to it, I am ashamed to say. But even that is good! Imagine having so many eagles and ravens and herons that you tend to ignore them? That says something, right?
We will not be talking about the !#@&#! squirrels.
Anyway, today is sunny but cool, windy, blustery and offering up the occasional shower. It is almost a fall-like day. A mixed bag. Quite enervating. I like it. But I mention it because we can see and feel the weather systems as they come and go. Our view is grand and sweeping. We see stuff. And, of course, we see stuff at night, too. There is no urban ambient light obfuscating the stars or moonshine. The point: there is an enhanced experience of something as typically mundane as the weather when you can see it on some kind of scale. More of a connection. When you have a bigger view, it becomes something bigger than just ‘getting wet’ or ‘being cold’. Hard to explain, actually, but I do enjoy the weather much more out here than I did in the city.
The dominant vegetation, of course, are the evergreens, the firs, hemlocks and cedars along with spruce and pine. Basically giant Christmas trees. Quite beautiful. But our obsession with economics has played out with the trees, too. The forest is becoming more and more monoculture. Industry wants fir. So fir is in ascendancy. Industry did NOT want cedar for a decade or so and so there is currently less cedar. No one wants cottonwood or alder so there is less of that. And so it goes. I admit that changing the make-up of the forest is such a slow process one does not, really, ‘see’ it happen. It is just something you see in retrospect. “Gee, there used to be more big red cedar trees, I think?”
The thing about the vegetation up here is what you don’t really notice at first glance – the undergrowth. The ferns, nettles, berries, flowers and bushes. The forest floor is literally impassable in some places with heavy ‘under’ growth. Blazing a trail is no easy matter. Add in the uneven topography, fallen trees, boulders, streams and rock outcroppings and it is virtually impossible to get from A to B without covering the rest of the alphabet in the process. Open space is at a premium. Clear open spaces don’t naturally exist. Meadows? Not a single one.
Which partially explains my obsession with building decks, I suppose. “Level footing! My kingdom for level footing!“