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Posts Tagged ‘orca’

wild

Last Friday evening, my family and I did something we never do: We sat down and watched a movie together.

I seldom watch TV and movies anymore, because I can now hear–and mostly reject–the slew of stories whispering cacophonous from behind any roaring “main” one. I chose to watch this one because I’m bombarded by its music–thanks, neighbors!–many evenings, and wanted to know the context for its songs.

The movie inspired my seven-year-old to ask two beautiful questions, which came back to me as I rewatched it alone this morning. I smiled and thought that I’d like to share those questions, and how I answered them. Read more…

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At home in New Orleans

On Tuesday, I landed in New Orleans.

I was greeted there by a good friend I’d never yet met in person.

(That happens with blogging. When you’ve already met in heart and mind, the physical meeting isn’t really the first meeting.)

Lisha picked me up outside the airport. We chatted comfortably as she took me on a two-hour tour of her beloved city.

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Serenity on a mountaintop

I spent one month researching killers whales atop a cliff.

One month probably doesn’t sound like much, just four or five weeks in the scheme of decades, yet that month gave me a taste for serenity and solitude I’ve hardly felt since.

I figured those feelings would remain in memory, sweet but increasingly distant as days marched on between me and my month on the cliff.

Thus was I delighted to exit my car at Del Cerro Park today and immediately see this:

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The landscape between me and the water was different, but the feeling every bit the same.

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The whales beneath my duct-taped sneakers

I took a train, a bus, a ferry and a boat to reach the unpopulated British Columbia island I called home my eighteenth summer.

I spent that summer researching killer whales, a creature with which I’d fallen in love while taking a Marine Bio course. Most of the time I did so from the main research island, but I spent the last few weeks at an outpost atop a cliff.

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My view atop the cliff

I witnessed many wonderful things there, where I was able to occasionally spot a dorsal fin as I listened to whales squealing happily as they rubbed their bellies against pebbles nearby.

One particular moment stands out almost two decades later.

My cliff partners had hopped on a boat for an island party the night before. I insisted I wouldn’t go, despite abundant badgering. I was true to my word, too, which I celebrated by spending the night tossing and turning inside my tent, certain every rustling I heard outside was a bear or other feral creature intent on eating me. Even the scuttling of tiny mice sounded ominous alone in the deep dark of night there, but minute by eternal minute the night passed.

A fog rolled in over the Johnstone Strait while I tried to sleep. Read more…

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