Thursday, April 7, 2016

Here and There are Odds and Ends or, The Delightful Sights Found on Short Walks

I've seen some interesting sights on walks lately. Things such as......

Whales!


(I had a very vivid dream once that I lived partially under water like an amphibious humanoid, and I would ride whales for fun. I still often think of that dream when I think of whales.

Just yesterday, a humpback gray whale was spotted at the Ballard locks (in Seattle). At first this sounded really exciting! I'd love to see a humpback whale. But the poor thing is lost and undernourished. Now I am worried about this whale! I hope it can find it's way back to it's pod. 

I did an internet investigation to discover interesting facts about whales. One site said something about how some scientists think whales may actually have emotions...I have one thing to say about this and it is not gentle....DUH! Of course whales have emotions. Why are humans surprised when animals display proof of an emotional life? This sort of thinking really frustrates me because I think it is one of the ways human's justify their cruelty, inaction or indifference to the suffering of animals. Human's think that it doesn't matter that we contribute to animal's suffering if the animals don't experience fear, love, joy and a desire to be happy, safe and content. Some (misguided) humans think that our emotional lives some how place us in a different category than animals, a higher category. It is not just the supposed lack of emotions that humans use to explain our supposed superiority. Humans think the various skills or strengths of humanity prove our superiority. We can do things animals can't but animals can do things we can't. It seems pretty arbitrary to cherry pick our strengths as the characteristics that deem us superior. Bats, with that their ability to use echolocation, have just as much of a logical claim to superiority. Does the bat's echolocation ability make them the animal most worthy of life? Bats aren't the only animal with extraordinary skills that humans can only dream of having. What about cheetah's ability to run, dogs ability to smell, birds ability to fly and whales ability to spend over an hour underwater without having to take a breath of the oxygen they need to survive? We should have reverence for animals, their strengths and abilities and their emotional lives, not contempt, not indifference, and not denial that these things exist. We should appreciate the things we share with animals such as a life of emotions and admire the things they possess that we do not. After all, there are few things more amazing in this world then the wonders within the animal kingdom. )

Also....Sunrises!

(Sunsets get all the glory and praise, but sunrises can be rather beautiful too. The perfect way to start the day is a strong cup of coffee and a beautiful sunrise.)

And how about... abandoned furniture!


(Once this chair provided solace for his owners tired legs. After a long day of work, the chair's person would come home and plop down upon it's worn and cozy cushions. But alas, the chair grew old and the chair was abandoned in a dreary alley way. Instead of being surrounded by the cozy facets of home life, the chair was surrounded by oil spills, litter and other indications of a city's decay. Poor chair. But alas! This chair seems to have a pile of sticks meticulously placed upon it, like perhaps a nest has been constructed! Has a strange alleyway animal reclaimed this chair? Is the chair once again providing the comfort it was destined to provide but now to a family of strange and adorable animals instead of a human? The chair thought he was no longer needed, when in fact he was needed, just in a different capacity.)

Now for the golden hour!

(I love the time of day in the late afternoon when the lighting is so glorious and golden. It happens more often in the spring and the summer. The long, stretched shadows and everything glowing a golden hue.. it feels like stepping into a parallel magical universe.)

Oh, no! And now missing heads!

(This sad and pretty head was sitting among some overgrown weeds in a yard near my home. I imagine that the artist lives on the property and sometimes she leaves her creations in strange spots. Maybe the head is a portrait of a long lost love. In order to get over the heartache of loosing him, she made a strange likeness of him. When the creation was done, she couldn't keep it in her house. She couldn't stand the constant reminders, but she also couldn't completely get rid of it, so it found it's home, slightly obscured nest to the blackberry brambles and dried out weeds from last summer. This face looks like it should have an 'H' name...Henry? Herbert? Harold? Harvey? )

Lastly, patriotic firefighters!

(There is a store near my house devoted just to fire extinguishers. Of course, fire extinguishers are a very important safety tool, but it still seems strange to have an entire store devoted to them. But I do really appreciate their store front window with the tired yet patriotic fire person, taking a rest in between fighting fires. 

If there is one animal associated with firefighters, it is the sweet and speckled dalmatian. Although I have never had the luck to see an actual dalmatian with a fire crew. I've only seen the dalmatian portrayed as the noble fire persons faithful companion in books or movies.  Have you wondered how the dalmatian became the animal mascot of fire fighting? The dalmatian was originally bred to be a carriage dog. Carriage dogs accompany horses by running along beside them. If any sort of danger or sinister person tries to assault the carriage, carriage dogs are there to protect the occupants. Because of the breeding and training, dalmatians got along great with horses. Dalmatian: not only man's best friend but horses best friend! Back in the way olden days when horse drawn carriages were the mode of transportation for fire fighters, the dalmatians were an obvious important sidekick. Eventually motor engines came along, and the horses no longer needed to be on the front lines of fire fights. But the dalmatians were able to outlast their traditional use in the fire fighting world, and they have endured as inspiring symbols and adorable ambassadors to the firefighting trade. )

Sources:
Dalmatian information found:
"Dalmatian (dog)." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 28 Mar. 2016. Web. 07 Apr. 2016. <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dalmatian_(dog)>

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