Friday, February 15, 2019

Eagle's Landing

Eagle's Landing may one have been a beacon of sunshine and lazy, joyous days, but now it's a bit of an eerie location. Or at least it was the one time I went.

The woods were beautiful like all woods are, but they were also a bit bedraggled and droopy. Branches crisscrossed chaotically across each other. Some of the forest debris smelt of mulch tinged urine. Smeared graffiti marked some of the noble tree trunks with sad signs of human debauchery. Toward the top of the trail was a little hang out nook for forest goers to use for picnics. The area was occupied with a group of sad-eyed teenage boys with forced looks of defiance on their face or real looks of angsty boredom. They huddled together, looking shiftily at passing walkers. Their raucous voices rose in the air and bounced sluggishly around the woods. They laughed but there was no true mirth in the sound.

Eagle's landing has stairs that go from the woods to the shore, but these stairs have been closed for a long time. I think it's these broken stairs that has transformed Eagle's Landing into a bit of a sad location. People could once walk through the woods with a goal of going to the shore in mind. But now, it's just a walk to a chain link fence and a warning sigh.

Still, there was beauty to be seen just as there always is. Little birds flitted from branch to branch, cocking their heads in curiosity at the sound off footsteps crunching on leaves. The fresh bright greenery of the woods looked otherworldly, like it was glowing from a childhood dream. Squirrels dashed up sun soaked tree trunks. It was a beautiful place to be, but also felt like a lonely place to be.

Now that Eagle's Landing no longer has it's access stairs to the water, and it is slowly being abandoned by the humans, the eagles can take over again. Eagle's have been nesting in the woods since the eighties. I wonder what they thought once they saw they had to share their precious nesting grounds with curious, human onlookers. Maybe they were the ones that some how sabotaged the stairs! Using their sturdy beaks to pull out bolts and screws. Soon they will be free to reign supreme again in the little wooded area. They will take over everything until each branch has an eagle perched upon it and the sky is blotted out by flapping eagle wings. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Notable Animals: Bob the Railroad Dog

In early 19th century Australia lived a shaggy dog with golden eyes and a wanderlust heart. His name was Bob the Railroad Dog. Before finding the railroad, he belonged to a person, a manager of the hotel. I imagine he spent his early life at the hotel, tucked behind the reception desk as his person tended to the dealings of the hotel world. Maybe being around all these tourists, these travelers, these curious souls, is what stirred Bob's own interest in travel. While out on the streets of his town, everyone smelled familiar. They smelled like the soil and the air and the water of the town he lived in. But theses strangers streaming in and out of the hotel smelled like something far greater. They smelled like sights never seen, rivers never swam, hills never climbed, people never met. Who wouldn't be curious and desirous for exploration when surrounded by such tempting mystery!

Bob escaped from the not very watchful eye of his person many times when finally, when still under a year old, he escaped for good. His person at home must of been sad. He must of missed his little Bob and his rapscallion ways. He probably dreamed of Bob and wondered if he would ever return. But Bob was too full of independent gumption to be hampered by domestic desires of continuing his dog/human relationship with his so called owner. The stirring TOOT TOOT of the train called to him stronger and louder than anything else ever could. He knew in his strongly beating heart that he was destined for adventure that could only be found through travel.

While living life as a wandering stray though, his life took a dubious turn to servitude when he was scooped up and enlisted to be used as a rabbit exterminator. Bob along with a pack of other dogs were expected to viciously attack rabbits in order to keep the rabbit population down. But Bob again proved he wasn't meant for conformity. He just didn't fit into the pack and was replaced by a more docile rabbit killing dog.

The fates must of stirred in Bob's favor next, because the most perfect of all people decided to adopt the scrappy little fellow. He was adopted by Seth Ferry, the Petersburg Assistant Station Manager! This is when his true destiny as train travelling dog began!

Railway Bob had certain spots on the train that he liked sitting in best. He especially liked to sit in front of the coal space in the locomotive tender. The warm coals sizzling near him probably kept him toasty even as the brisk breeze of passing air rustled his shaggy coat in the most refreshing manner. He loved the sound of the trains whistle, high-pitched and jovial, ringing through the air. Maybe Bob thought that the whistle sounded like an ancient howl of some all-mighty dog. Bob also liked watching the thick smoke rising into the air from the trains smoke stack. He was probably delighted by the ethereal yet solid nature of smoke. Life on the train was full of all sorts of delightful quirks and mysteries. Bob also liked to sit in the railway cabs, but only as long as they were not too crowded. If he could not find a cab to sit in that was empty enough for his liking, he would bark relentlessly until the cab was cleared and Bob could enjoy the peace of solitude while zooming past the sights and scenes.

Railway travel wasn't always safe, even for a scrappy dog like Bob. Bob suffered many injuries but still persevered. He fell of train cars, he hurt himself jumping and once even his beautiful shaggy coat caught fire. Despite the dangers involved with his particular lifestyle, Bob was always ready for the next adventure.

Railroad Bob inspired the imaginations of all that heard of him. People were awed by his free-spirit, his independence and self reliance, his desire to see the world! He was spotted all around Australia and rumored to have been seen in every mainland Australian state. His travels connected the entire country.

Eventually, Bob did retire from his exciting wandering lifestyle and settled down in Adelaide. He spent his days roaming but always got his meal from the butcher. The butcher gave him scraps of meat and afternoon tea which Bob ate with relish. One day, after his meal, Bob was walking down the street when he saw another dog. He gave a happy but mighty bark at the other dog. But then, his merry bark transformed into a mournful howl and he immediately collapsed and died. He was 17 years old. The country mourned his death, but they all also knew that he really did live life to its fullest.

Monday, February 11, 2019

The Recreation of Animals, Part Three.

The Recreation of Animals, Part Three:

Bernadette lived alone.

Her enclosure was far away from any other. When she looked through the walls of windows, she saw snow and ice and black skies. But in this bleak world, she still found color. If you spent enough time looking at snow, it stopped looking white and started to glisten with color.

Bernadette spent her days gardening and her nights looking at stars and imagining.

Friday, February 8, 2019

Book Review: Luisa Now and Then By Carole Maurel

'Luisa Now and Then' is a graphic novel about realizing and embracing who you are. The novel is by Carole Maurel and adapted by Mariko Tamaki. 

The book is about two different people who are really the same people: Luisa as an adult and Luisa as a teenager. Teenage Luisa falls asleep on the bus and finds herself lost in a city. She knows the address of her aunts apartment, so she decides to head there to get help from her aunt. Upon arriving at the apartment, she encounters not her aunt, but a stranger who looks remarkably similar to herself. Through the experience of meeting each other, the adult Luisa and the teenage Luisa both learn something very valuable about themselves, and learn to embrace who they are.

The artwork of this story was wonderful and helped transport the reader to Luisa's world. The story itself was well written and thought-provoking. It was interesting to see how teenage Luisa was disappointed over who she had become because she had not fully followed her dreams or  accomplished her aspirations. But adult Luisa knew that reality was so different than dreams, and sometimes you have to make sacrifices in adulthood. However, Luisa was making sacrifices she didn't need to. She wasn't letting herself be the person she truly was due to the pressures of the society and the people in her life. Encountering young her helped free her to be who she was suppose to be.

Overall, this is a great book that I would recommend to anyone who wants to ponder the differences of perspective between teenagehood and adulthood. Sometimes it is good to remember that despite all the frivolity of youth, there is a wisdom of youth too that we often loose as we grow old.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Notable Animals: Lively Laddie

Lively Laddie came from an interesting mother. His mother, maybe named Lovely Lassie, almost died before Lively Laddie even had a chance to exist and live his long life. Lovely Lassie survived a train crash when she was being carted off to be slaughtered. Who knows how it happened, but the survival of the train crash must have led to the survival of the slaughter house. Maybe the train crash set her free and she went prancing off into the nearby hills, hiding until finally discovered by someone kind enough to care for her and let her live. Or maybe someone heard her story and thought it was too cruel a twist of fate for such a survivor to be sent immediately to her death, so they stepped in to rescue her. But she lived. And she went on to have her son, Lively Laddie.

It must have been passed on to Lively Laddie, this will to live, this urge to keep on surviving. Who knows how these things work, but sometimes it seems more than just good genes. He inherited his mother's luck, or his mothers drive, or his mothers determination. The magic of their ability to keep on living seemed more than just a fluke of genetics. Whatever it was, somehow he did it. Lively Laddie became one of the oldest donkeys to ever live.

Donkey's are known to be stubborn, and what better way to use your stubbornness then by refusing to succumb to all of our inevitable fates of death. Instead of dying, Lively Laddie just kept on living, and living and living.

Lively Laddie didn't have a simple donkey life on a farm. In his youth, he was a donkey with a joy for speed. He knew how to run, and he knew how to run fast. Maybe this was something else inherited by his mother, who may have run like lightening away from the crashed train. Lively Laddie became a racing donkey. How confident he must of felt, running at full speed, his hooves click-clocking against the ground, his head tilted toward he sky with wind whipping through his mane.

Later in his life, Lively Laddie found another way to make ends meet. He lived a Blackpool Pleasure Beach, an amusement park in England, where he entertained tourists. I imagine he wandered free amongst the roaming hordes of tourists at the park. Maybe he stopped at the cotton candy stand where he was allowed to chew upon fluffy, pink puffs of cotton candy. Maybe he stopped under the Ferris wheel, looking up to watch the passing people as they soared toward the sky. Maybe on hot days, he stopped by the water rides to feel the splash of the cool water as the the ride's cars splashed downward. Or maybe he didn't have the freedom of wandering and instead ate hay peacefully in a barn with other animals where children came to visit, cupping their sticky hands on his cheeks and feeding him pellets and hay. Either way, it must have been a nice life for Lively Laddie, a life he didn't want to leave.

But, eventually it happened. Lively Laddie passed away in 2005 at the old age of 62. But in his time on earth, he made a name for himself. He lived up to being lively.

The Blackpool Pleasure Beach where Lively Laddie once entertained tourists, is known to have ghosts. There is a ghost of an old ride operator named Cloggy. Cloggy got his name due to his love of wearing clogs. People still heart the clip-clop of his clogs today. Or are they mistaken? Maybe the clip-clop sound is not the ghost of Cloggy, but rather a the ghost of another creature known for clip-clopping. Maybe the clip-clop is Lively Laddies merry steps, clicking against the cement, as he continues his life adventures even after life has left him. 

Monday, February 4, 2019

The Recreation of Animals, Part Two.

The Recreation of Animals, Part Two:

Thousands of years after, humans still lived but in a different world, a world of ice and cold and strange air. The humans that survived created structures out of glass and they created machines and technology to help them live despite it all. They had saved seeds in their pockets and in envelopes and in bags. They had saved the pants but all the animals were ghosts.

Friday, February 1, 2019

A Visit to Larrabee State Park

The first time I went to Bellingham area, I was left with a sour impression. My partner and I were exploring the area together! We parked near the downtown part of historic Fairhaven. As we were leaving, a woman with a pinched face eased her car next to us and rolled down her window. She said "Are you planning on parking there???" We were already parked so we replied in the affirmative with bright smiles and twinkling eyes. She said, 'Well, i live on this street and my neighbors live there. And i know the people that live there and there and there," she said while pointing to various houses "so DON'T STAY LONG!" We were shocked by this woman's blatant rudeness! It was a public street with lots of space to park. Even though it's best not to take unwarranted rudeness to heart, its hard not too. So our exploration of the cute little downtown area was marred by the woman's grump which was looming over our every move. Even my peach caramel ice cream cone wasn't as sweet as it should have been.

Whenever I tell this story, people are surprised because this isn't Bellingham's reputation. It's suppose to be a lovely place with easy going people. Well, finally it was time to give the area another chance! Oscar, David and I went on a day road trip to the Bellingham area! We ended the day eating sandwiches at a dog friendly brewery where everyone was completely pleasant and kind. The first part of the day was devoted to exploring the natural beauty of Larabee State Park!

While I was there, I felt like I was in that old video game Myst or in a Microphones song. It was beautiful and mysterious and cheerful and eerie all at the same time.

After this round of exploring the Bellingham area, I was left with a desire to see more! It seems like a beautiful and peaceful community snuggled up next to the wonder of nature!