With a nod to All Creatures Great and Small by veterinarian James Herriot, this is what my Sunday looked like.
We started off the day at the beach and I’m beyond sad that I didn’t have my good camera with me so I couldn’t capture the magic of a school of dolphin jumping and splashing in the water. I’m sure this paddleboarder was happy because they seemed to follow him wherever he went. Trust me, there are about six dolphin in this photo.
On the way home, we saw a bit of an odd sight…check out these seagulls that shouldn’t have been this far away from the beach. They usually only fly inland when there’s a storm, so I have no idea why they were flying around in circles and then perched on the telephone lines.
Today was a work project day in the garden, cleaning up around the rosemary and lavender. I sat down for a minute for a wheatgrass break and this little alligator lizard stopped by to say hi. I scratched his back with a stick and he allowed me to take these pics.
All in all, a great Sunday for creatures great and small.
It was one of those days where everyone was looking up and toward the horizon.
For me, looking back provided a fresh perspective of tonight’s magnificent sunset.
The sky beautifully metamorphosed all day, culminating in this fiery red-orange sunset. The beach was packed at sundown with people taking pics. I found a place to park, looked in my rear view mirror, and decided THAT was the money shot.
The rest of the day spoke to me, too, in colors and textures.
You probably heard on the news how windy it was here in SoCal. In the local mountains, one gust was clocked at 95 miles an hour!
Even at the coast, wind gusts were almost fifty miles an hour. A shared neighbor fence is just about completely down; it was well on its way before the wind event ‘cos their giant Bird of Paradise was relentlessly pushing it over, so I guess that might be something that will need to be addressed. One day.
Eucalyptus branches are everywhere, wires are down, smoke from a few local fires dot the sky, but the bigger and more dangerous fires are a bit to the north of me in Orange County.
I had to pick up my new glasses (huge and I love them) and make another trip to the dentist to confirm that yes, I do need a root canal, so next week should be a real treat. What a not very fun way to celebrate Hannukah, but I’m grateful the dentist saw it before it got really bad.
I drove home along the beach route and made a quick stop to look for whales. I wasn’t lucky enough to see any this time, but I took some pics. You can see forever, all the way to the ends of the earth.
Look at the sparkles!
No whales in sight, but I’m sure they’re out there in that vast ocean. It made me think of that iconic Linda Ronstadt song, Somewhere Out There. Seems about right for 2020, too.
The first few notes get me teary every single time. I never saw the film, An American Tail, but I might have to now.
And a windchime filled video of our windy morning.
Join me on yet another Odysseus-like journey through my town. I’m not sure what I’m searching for, but maybe like Odysseus, I’m trying to find my way home, facing challenges along the way.
This was an interesting morning.
When I began my pilgrimage, there was so much fog! It was coming down from the heavens like rain. Super cool for walking, not so good for curly hair, but I like to look on the bright side so I braided my curls and wore a hat.
Check out the Halloweeny spider webs on this pine tree, brought to life by the heavy fog.
For a while, I was a few houses behind a woman who was walking her Rottweiler. I was actually across the street, but couldn’t help but notice that she was roughly pulling on the poor creature’s leash/collar. The collar was one of those mean ones that have little barbs in them. I was already upset that the dog had a cropped tail. I believe that sort of mutilation is outlawed in other–more humane–countries, as is that nasty hurtful collar.
OK, I said to myself. Don’t say it, I said to myself. You know what to do, girl, I said to myself, keep walking and don’t speak. Don’t say a word this time, I said to myself. Just DON’T, I said to myself. Look away, I said to myself. Take a deep breath, I said to myself. You can’t protect every animal in the world, I said to myself. This might not go well, I said to myself. Take another deep breath, I said to myself. Mind your own business, I said to myself. Slow down your pace so you’re out of hearing distance, I said to myself. I mean it, have some impulse control; this time just don’t say it, I said to myself.
And then the woman and her dog slowed down, so they were within the range of my voice.
What do you think I did?
Yup. I really did. I couldn’t help myself. I TRIED really hard to get my Zen on, but my one little inner voice was joined by yet another little inner voice and the words spilled out…
“Umm, excuse me, but I couldn’t help but notice how you’re jerking your poor animal’s neck that way with that awful chain around its neck. It looks really painful from my point of view.”
“She needs to learn to listen. It’s just a little pinch.”
I said…”Well, you might want to learn another more positive method of training that poor girl because as I’ve observed during the last two blocks, your way isn’t working out very well.”
I concluded by saying, “I’ve trained a lot of animals, and actually think those types of chains with the hooks on them are banned in other countries. It’s abusive. You might want to research using a harness which doesn’t choke your beautiful dog.”
Well, she didn’t say anything else to me because at that point she walked up a side street, in all likelihood to get as far away from me as she could.
To her credit, we didn’t get into a screaming match. Walking away was her best choice, as she would have lost.
I took a deep breath and felt good that I had spoken truth and possibly opened her brain to a nicer way of training. Or not. Maybe I just ruined her day. Either way, job well done, in my opinion.
I looked down and was rewarded by a treasure! This is the most beautiful hawk feather. I carefully picked it up and placed it in my backpack. I think this might be a tail feather, don’t you?
At the beach, there was the usual non-compliant non-mask wearers, but I wore mine, took my ocean photos, and turned back to walk home.
The lights were out at the intersection of Carlsbad Blvd. and Tamarack. There was utter chaos with cars and pedestrians, near misses, and impatient drivers. I crossed the street, defying a white SUV who was inching slowly toward running us all down, and saw a few police cars show up to direct the shitshow, so I thanked them for saving our lives and continued on my way.
This was a new sign at the railroad tracks. I swear there’s a deeper, more profound meaning here, but I can’t figure it out. I don’t have a clue. What do you think?
I stopped at RiteAid and bought a couple of cute Halloween decorations to add to my display ‘cos they were on sale.
Six miles or so again. Except for a still sore left arm where I had the injections, I think I’ve fully recovered from the horrible side effects of these vaccinations. I’m no closer to answering life’s existential questions, but the song that came on as I was almost home was Sting’s If I Ever Lose My Faith in You, and I’m even more confused.
Despite suffering from a sinus infection, Sea Shepherd’s Captain Paul Watson showed up on Saturday morning to meet and chat with the public when the vessel, M/V Farley Mowat, was docked in San Diego Harbor at the Maritime Museum, offering free tours all weekend.
I took the train downtown and got there just in time to greet Capt. Watson as he arrived, and he kindly set aside time to respond to a couple of questions.
This is a man who walks the walk and talks the talk. He is a man of integrity and I admire him immensely and support his ideals and goals.
While I’m waiting for the pics and video to download to WordPress, I’ll ask you a question…do you know who Farley Mowat was?
Canadian born, he authored one of the books that inspired me and shaped my existence as a wolf activist: Never Cry Wolf.
He created a body of work staggering in its quality and breadth: Sea of Slaughter, A Whale for the Killing, Grey Seas Under, Lost in the Barrens, Virunga: The Life of Dian Fossey (that became the movie Gorillas in the Mist), and many more.
One of Canada’s most popular and prolific writers, he became a champion of wildlife and native Canadian rights and a sharp critic of environmental abuse.
His writing spoke deep truths about humanity’s responsibility for the planet and the species we share it with. In doing so, he became one of the pioneers of the environmental movement.
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship Farley Mowat was named in his honor, and he frequently visited it to assist its mission.
Captain Paul Watson is a Canadian-American marine wildlife conservation and environmental activist who founded the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, an anti-poaching and direct action group focused on marine conservation and marine conservation activism.
Since WordPress doesn’t allow me to post videos directly to a post (I have a free blog), here’s a link to a couple of videos of Capt. Watson I posted on Facebook. It can’t be embedded, but if you click on “Watch on Facebook”, you’ll be able to watch!
The Full Sturgeon Moon rises tonight. A perfect time to set intentions and believe in magic!
I wonder if these intense lunar energies had anything to do with a baby gray whale who lost his way in our little beach town entering Agua Hedionda Lagoon from the ocean.
I happened to be in the right place at the right time with my lovely Canon and a decent lens and was lucky enough to snap these photos.
SeaWorld came to assess the situation and told me that he didn’t seem to be in distress; he was spouting every couple of minutes or so, which is completely normal, and he was rubbing his body against the rocks to try and dislodge all of the barnacles.
Gray whales are more heavily infested with a greater variety of parasites and hitchhikers than any other cetacean. Imagine carrying a load of hitchhikers on your back that can weigh several hundred pounds! Gray whales do this all their lives. Who’s riding, and why?
Big Batches of Barnacles
Those patchy white spots you see on gray whales are barnacles. Grays carry heavy loads of these freeloaders. The barnacles are just along for the ride. They don’t harm the whales or feed on the whales, like true parasites do. Barnacles don’t serve any obvious advantage to the whales, but they give helpful lice a place to hang onto the whale without getting washed away by water. Barnacles find the slow-swimming gray whale a good ride through nutrient-rich ocean waters.
As larvae, the whale barnacles swim freely in the ocean. But they time their reproduction so the larvae are swimming in the water of the nursery lagoons when the baby whales are born. Then the larvae jump aboard the whales arriving in the lagoons–as well as the newborn calves—to start their lives as hitchhikers. The most common barnacles on gray whales are host-specific, which means they occur on no other whales. One type of barnacle, Cryptolepas rhachianecti, attaches only to gray whales. Once this type of small crustacean has settled on “its own” gray, the barnacle spends its whole life hanging onto that whale.
Life is good if you’re a barnacle. Snug inside their hard limestone shells, the barnacles stick out feather feet to comb the sea and capture plankton and other food for themselves as the whales swim slowly along. As the young whales grow, the barnacle clusters grow too. Gradually the barnacles form large, solid white colonies. The colonies appear as whitish patches, especially on the whale’s head, flippers, back and tail flukes.
Whale biologists look at the pattern of barnacle clusters in order to tell individual grays apart. This is possible because no two barnacle clusters, like no two human’s fingerprints, are alike!
When the tide changed, he finally made it out beyond the jetty waves; hopefully he finds his mom and doesn’t wander into shallow water again!
Just another amazing day in paradise. So much magic and beauty to be grateful for!
Whale or SHARK?
My own little embellished-with-sparkles-gray whale rock is much happier barnacle-free, don’t you think?