What I See, part 11, by Karen Joy Fowler
The weather here has been erratic. MJ and I have taken our walks in rain and in wind so strong I was knocked off my feet. Snow was predicted here at sea level one morning, but never materialized. Other days have been like spring. I meant to report on all of them. But I’ve been distracted by travel, work, and family. And mesmerized by the events in the Middle-East and the midwest. I’ve been so discouraged by the drumbeat of men with money (fresh off the windfall of the Bush tax-cut extensions) soberly insisting on the need for a shared sacrifice in which they’ll have no share. Put the people who are actually sacrificing on my television please instead of these buffoons. Let me look at the incredibly bravery of the people in Libya and be awed. Let me look at the crowds in my beloved Madison, Wisconsin, and be hopeful.
Here on the coast, all is well. A week or so ago, during one stretch of springtime, the monarch butterflies returned to the park. They came in larger numbers than last year. MJ and I would see them in the mornings clustered in the eucalyptus trees and in the afternoons, filling the air like falling leaves on a windy day. Where they went and whether or how they survived the storms that followed is a mystery to me, but they lifted my heart.
More good stuff. We got word from the marine animal rescue unit—a phone number we keep above the stove—that a sea lion my husband called in a month ago has been released. She’d hauled out on Its Beach, exhausted and malnourished, but under the care of the fine veterinarians here, the roses have returned to her cheeks and she has returned to the sea. The first year I was here, I saw several dead sea lions. The rangers told me the population was suffering from a neurological disorder as well as a depleted food supply. I saw even more dead gulls. But there’s been happily little of this in the last two years.
Its Beach used to be the leash-free beach for dogs until then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger sent us all letters saying now it wasn’t. Most people still take their dogs there anyway as it’s so very preferable to the new dog beach. But I have a fine relationship with the park rangers, which would sour if they pressed a pricey ticket on me, so MJ and I no longer frolic there. A week ago at the legal dog beach, the retaining wall was short enough that I could step easily onto it. The surf had slanted towards it, depositing the seaweed along the top so that walking the wall was like walking on a mattress. Today the wall is taller than I am and the seaweed is back in rotting heaps on the sand where it belongs.
Odd sightings over the last couple of weeks include a man at Steamer Lane walking about quite awkwardly with spurs on his sneakers. And a blackbird, a crow, and a raven in the park all clustered together like Russian nesting dolls—unless it was all crows of vastly different sizes. There is nothing crows aren’t capable of. I put nothing past the crows.
What I See
What I See, part 2
Interrupting our regular schedule . . .
What I See, part 3
What I See, part 4
What I See, part 5
What I See, part 6
What I See, part 7
What I See, part 8
What I See, part 9
What I See, part 10