wordsfromanneli

Thoughts, ideas, photos, and stories.


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Loner or Groupie?

People are all different. If you think about it though, they fall into two main categories: loners, and groupies.

Are you a loner? Do you like your own company better than that of others? Are you independent, happy to spend time alone,  thinking and musing, or doing solitary activities? Do you like the quietness of nature? Do you easily amuse yourself with thoughts and puzzles, hiking, fishing, or walking alone?

A lot of well adjusted people are solitary types and love to be that way.

But some hate spending time alone. I’ve heard them say, “It’s too quiet. I’m lonely. I’m bored. I’m afraid to be alone, especially at night.”

Nothing makes them happier than when company is coming.

 

And then there are those who HAVE to be with a lot of “friends” or even just in a crowd. They say it makes them feel good when they’re surrounded by people. Life is one big party, and when the band goes home for the night, the groupies still want to continue being together, seeking each other’s approval in almost everything they think or do. “Wait for me! I just have to check how many ‘Likes’ I have on my blog.”

Photo: Courtesy of Paul Knettig.

Whichever category we lean towards, loners or groupies, maybe we’re just like the rest of the animals on this planet.

 


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Love Conquers All

Love happens in the most unexpected places, between the most unexpected individuals. Here in the estuary of the Puntledge River, an odd couple have been “seeing” each other for weeks.

 

Remember Red Skelton’s Gertrude and Heathcliff? They are gossiping at the top of the next photo.

“Watch this, Gertrude.”

“I can’t, Heathcliff. Can’t you see I’m doing my feathers?  I got this spot on me when I ate that clam.”

“Oh, you women. Never mind that. You look beautiful to me. But look over there. It’s that Betsy Barnyard, trying to make a move on Charlie Canada … AGAIN! She just pesters him and pesters him. Just won’t leave him alone.”

“Oh go on … you know he likes the attention.”

“Shh! Here she comes.”

***

“Honk-honk! Hi, Charlie. Whatcha doin’?”

“Oh, just hanging out. Fixing up a few feathers. Minding my own business.”

“I wondered if you wanted to ‘hang out’ with me today. It’s such a lovely spring day.”

“Are you serious? You know we’re not the same kind. Heavens to Betsy Barnyard! What would your father say?”

“I don’t know, Charlie. I haven’t told him about us. Anyway, who cares? These days it’s okay to  love whomever you want.”

“But Betsy, there’s also the fact of our stations. I represent the country. I’m Charlie Canada, and you … well, there’s just no getting away from it. You were brought up in a barn.”

“It’s no use hanging your head in shame. It’s just the way things are.”

“I’m sorry, Betsy, but I don’t think we should see each other anymore. We’re just too different. And think of the children. They would have such cultural issues. I don’t know if I could handle it.”

Betsy sniffles and wipes away a tear. “Okay, Charlie. If that’s the way you feel about me….”

“I’ll just have to go drown myself. I can’t face that gossipy gaggle of geese in the barnyard.”

“Awww … Betsy, don’t be like that. Come on over here. ”

“Are you sure, Charlie?”

“Yeah, I’m sorry. I couldn’t be happy without you.”

 

“Well, Heathcliff. What do you say now? It looks like they’re getting back together again.”

“Just as long as they’re happy … like us …. Right, Gertrude?”

“Whatever you say, Heathcliff.”

 


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Wind and Rain

Yesterday, on a rare sunny day I was coming home from town when I had to make a quick photo stop. The mist and cloud formations across the bay were ominous, warning of the next weather system coming in.

*Warning* Wet camera lens was an ongoing problem.

I turned the camera back towards town. The spread of the clouds stretched along the far hills. In the water is a long row of posts that has been there ever since I can remember. Not sure what purpose they once served, unless it was a  navigation guide. The posts still stick out at high tide and warn boaters of the bar.

As you can see below, some posts still show in places where the bar is farther below the surface, and the trunk of a long-dead tree is hung up on the gravel. This is not where you want your boat to end up. Seagulls and a heron sit on the log like sentinels warning of hazards to navigation.

After a slightly deeper stretch of water, the bar comes up again and continues into the bay. A river flows along the side of the bar that is closest to us (at the bottom of the photo), while the water beyond is a shallow bay that is a mudflat at very low tide. If you want to bring a boat up the river, you need to know where the channel is or end up with seagulls sitting on your hull.

The sandbar is a popular place for birds to dabble and sun themselves. Sometimes you’ll find ducks and geese there; sometimes, like this day, seagulls.

The sun came blasting through the clouds for one last look at me. I clicked the camera as I looked back into its blinding light, knowing I might not see this light for days ahead.

This morning I see that I was right. Looking out my living room window, I saw what was behind those first clouds I saw yesterday – a blast of southeast duck weather.

It’s a good day to stay home while the Captain goes duck hunting.

*****

Winter on the coast is wet,

Wind and rain is all you get,

Sometimes there’s a glimpse of sun,

Just five minutes, then it’s done,

Back we go to wind and rain,

Hope by spring I’m not insane.

 


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Wild Winds

For days and days and days and days we lived in an atmosphere as thick as pea soup.

And then the wind picked up. It blew the fog away and delivered some hefty, hefty rain clouds. My house is near the end of that spit of land on the left, in that gap between the trees, but looking out the other way towards Comox Bay.  The beach in these photos is not far away but it gets hammered much harder by the wind.

See the foam that has piled up on the beach like whipping cream that has blown off the frothing tops of the waves.

Anyone for a little boat ride today? Surfing might be okay except for the many rocks on this beach.

This lonely seagull probably can’t decide where he wants to go but it doesn’t matter because it’s unlikely he’ll get there today anyway. He will go where the winds take him.

More foam collects on the beach. At night those fish who have legs come ashore and gather this whipping cream to put on their “sponge” cake for dessert.

“Careful,” hollers the Captain. “Stay off those logs. They’re “slicker’n snot on a doorknob,” he announces crudely.

“Aye, aye, Cap’n! Aaarrrh haaarrrh.

Brisk and wild and wonderful

The sea spray soaks my face

I gasp for air that whooshes past

With giant strength and pace.

I lift the camera in the wind

Don’t want to lose my grip

I brace myself against the sway

As if I’m on a ship.

The lens is spattered, droplets run,

No way to keep it dry.

I click the pictures anyway

And whoop and gasp and cry.

The wind is strong,  I need to hold 

The car door safely tight.

I ease inside and yell out, “Wow!

I thought I might take flight.”

 

 


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Herring and Other Delicacies

Near the end of February and into March, the herring congregate and spawn near the beaches of the east side of Vancouver Island. The arrival of the herring means the beginning of the fat time for other animals  who look forward to eating well, after a hard winter. Here, in a photo taken by one of my neighbours Paul Knettig, the seagulls and eagles await the arrival of the herring. But the eagles are not above preying on other guests at the same dinner table. Among the many seabirds who also enjoy the arrival of the herring, are the loons. It seems that loons are one of the favourite foods on the eagles’ menu.P1020586

Here are the wing bones and a few feathers of what I believe was a common loon. I found this wing under a tree in my yard.

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Here is a close up picture of it.

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Now, aren’t those feathers similar to the wing feathers of this loon in the photo below (taken a few years earlier). I had picked up the pieces the eagle had dropped from a tall fir tree in my yard, and put them together again in the shape they might have been in.IMGP0338

With dead herring lying around on the beaches, the eagles are eating well, but they still prefer to bring their food to a safer spot to be eaten. Sometimes they get clumsy and drop things. That’s why I found a herring head under this same tree where I later found the loon. Thinking I would write about it in a blog post, I picked up the herring head and put it in the empty wheelbarrow for safekeeping until I could go get my camera. Alas! When I arrived with my camera, the herring head was gone.

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And Emma’s breath had a distinctly fishy smell.

Emma 1“Well, you didn’t say not to….”


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Chilly Day in Olympia

In the city of Olympia, Washington, the state capitol building looks over an inlet that is so far back from the ocean, you would think it’s a freshwater lake. Beside that “lake” is a well-cared-for park and walkway. But it was chilly here last week when I visited here. With the cold snap that hit the western Washington area, you had to pick up the pace if you wanted to keep warm.014

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The grasses at the water’s edge tell the story. It’s darn cold.020

I’m sure there’s a rule about not feeding the birds, but obviously people have been feeding them. Why else would birds congregate near the shore with people so close by? For that matter, isn’t that seagull getting awfully cozy with the people in this photo? I’d say they’re quite used to being fed. 

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Still, I once saw a family feeding ducks in a park, and I wondered if the Cheezies the ducks consumed would shorten their life. It can’t be good for them.

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The hen mallard has two drakes fussing about her. Lucky girl. These ducks are so common to the west coast I hesitated to post this very ordinary photo, but their plumage is  magnificent just now. I thought they deserved to be shown off.  Maybe I’m wrong about the Cheezies.


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The Last Hurrah

The Education Building in Olympia, Washington, looked to me like a castle where Sleeping Beauty might reside.DSCN4833

On the lawns in front of the building is a monument to a man who was twice governor of Washington. He must have been a good man. Read the inscription and see if you agree. I think he deserved to have his statue in this place of honour.

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Here he is, standing proud and tall. But alas…just when you think you’ve arrived …DSCN4840

Well … some things are just beyond your control, and Mother Nature has the last hurrah.
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