- A perfect summer Saturday,
- Sunlight on water,
- Enough of a breeze,
- Few mosquitoes,
- Home early enough to recharge before bed,
- And to chase the cat around the house;
- She thinks I’m a toy!
- An Introvert’s perfect getaway,
- Love me and let me be me!
PSA: like to list! Join Li.st.
Thursday, February 27th was International Polar Bear Day and Polar Bears International marked the day with a petition urging world leaders to take decisive action at the UN climate change summit in Paris this December. You can read more about the petition here.
To help spread the word, Ailsa at Where’s my backpack? took a look through her travel photos for shots that suggest environment in some way and urged us to do the same.
I give you sky, land, and water.
On weeks like these, ice is easy to imagine. For most of January, so far, the temperature has hovered in the -20s with a wind chill up to the -40s Celsius. I should be use to this.
In December, just before Christmas, I walked home after dark. It was a crisp and clear night with nary a wind. The snow sparkled under the street lights. However, January’s cold is not the sort of cold one wants to be outside in.
I’ve lived here all my life. The cold is familiar. Sometimes the cold is a friend. In Summer, the wind would be an ally blowing away the mugginess of the day. But the wind is no ally today as I sit inside with cold toes. I really should go and put on some socks. All the cat and I want to do is curl up with a blanket and a book.
The only ice we wish to see are ice cubes sparkling in our mixed drinks.
The ice is a mirror. The mirror is ice. I am ice. What is reflected within?
On weeks like these, all I want to drink is water. Ice cold water. I come in from outside and down two six ounce glasses. I sit and read with a glass of water by my side. The cat sit and stares at her water tower yearning for it to blurp. I really should buy her a lava lamp to stare at. I don’t know why this activity fascinates her, I’m just tired of constantly mopping up the floor as she tries to make the blurp and in the process spills water all over the place. I wish she could talk and explain herself.
I have a love/hate relationship with large bodies of water. I find floating on lakes relaxing as long as I am all alone. I never will be a fan of ice fishing though the winter we were young teens my brother and I walked a mile across the frozen lake listening to the groans and creeks anticipating the fear of falling in. We were lucky not to fall in and got major heck when we got back home to the grandparents. News travels faster than teenagers in a small town.
This was the lake in my mother’s parents village. My grandfather ice fished there. It was where we took our swimming lessons for the first time. I was seven and had to be dragged in, kicking and screaming, because I was determined not to go into that noisy body of water.
This was when I feared lakes. I feared lakes because I almost drowned when I was three. I don’t remember almost drowning. This is how the story was told to me. My mom and her friend were on the beach and me and her friend’s son, both of us about three years old, found a raft to explore and nobody noticed us until we were floating in the lake. I’m sure there was panic; my mother is a panic-er. We survived (obviously) but I came away with a fear of lakes and a bad dream.
I have this dream every time I am extremely stressed. I dream of being on a raft (alone) surrounded by water. I am floating through my home town which is flooded. I don’t feel afraid. Mostly, I feel eerily calm. I have not had this dream in a very long time. I was much more stressed in High School than I am now.
I have made my peace with large bodies of water. I float in lakes, take long cruises on oceans and fly over the seas acting mostly calm.
But in my mind large bodies of water are dark and maleficent. What is hidden beneath the calm? What is reflected there?
On weeks like these, I miss the steam we use to create as skin touched skin. He was a water sign (Scorpio) and I am a fire sign (Aries). Water signs tend to bare their souls and enjoy the chance to walk fire. Fire signs are impulsive and prone to boldly charge in.
We steamed up my small university basement apartment whether or not we were stormed in. One memorable weekend the drifts covered the door and we didn’t care. We had shelter. We had food. We had each other.
There was plenty of steam as Fire and Water embraced. Eventually, the fire was doused and the water evaporated away to nothing.
What was hidden in the steam? What was reflected there?
On weeks like these, who you are may change or take on different forms.
Are you solid, liquid or gas?
Are you ice, water or steam?
I am feeling ancient, ancient and cold (the minus 50 degree Celsius day is not helping). I am rock. I am granite. I am stone.
Water runs off me, through me and wears away at my surface.
The good stuff is underneath, is inside.
I am gargoyle, grotesque. I am a statue – immobile.
I am ancient. I am unknown.
I am abandoned.
There is beauty there.
Old. Ancient. Abandoned.
Spread the light,
Be the light.
It was a calm, cool, cloudy day when we arrived in Churchill.
One of our first stops was a trip to see the Beluga whales. The babies are grey and stick close to their mothers; at first the whales were very hard to take pictures of. I was impatient and feeling rushed as I tried to get a perfect shot. Foolish human.
The beluga whale is a small, toothed whale that is white as an adult. The beluga’s body is stout and has a small, blunt head with a small beak, tiny eyes, thick layers of blubber, and a rounded melon. They have one blowhole. Beluga means “white one” in Russian. Its genus, Delphinapterus, means “whale without fins”, and the species, leucas, means white.
The beluga inhabits a discontinuous circumpolar distribution in Arctic and sub-Arctic waters ranging from 50° N to 80° N, particularly along the coasts of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, and Russia. In the spring, the beluga moves to its summer grounds: bays, estuaries and other shallow inlets. A mother usually returns to the same site year after year. As the summer homes clog with ice during autumn, the beluga moves away for winter. Most travel in the direction of the advancing icepack and stay close to its edge for the winter months.
Once the captain turned off the boat’s motor and set us drifting, more and more of the whales surfaced. Speakers allowed us to listen to the whales call to each other. Belugas are known as “sea canaries” because of their songs and chatter, which can even be heard above the water. The bay was full of whales; there was easily thousands as they were migrating back to the ice for the upcoming winter.
It was getting easier to photograph the whales but, I found, impossible to distinguish one from another.
Belugas are relatively slow swimmers. They swim about 2-6 mph. They swim in small pods or mother & child pairings.
Beluga whales are very social animals and congregate in pods (social groups) of 2-25 whales, with an average pod size of 10 whales (consisting of both males and females or mothers and calves). A pod will hunt and migrate as a group. The bond between mothers and calves is the strongest. During migrations, several pods may join together, forming groups of 200-10,000 belugas.
The water was clear. It was possible, if you paid attention, to anticipate where the next group would surface. Learn patience and you will be rewarded.
After a while, I put down my camera and just watched as the whales swam and dove around us.
The sound of the beluga’s voices and the rocking of the boat were very soothing.
As we headed back to the dock, a small pod of males swam near the surface following us. As we gathered speed, they disappeared.
Were they sad to see us go? Did they enjoying watching us as much as we enjoyed watching them? Do they wonder what strange creatures we are?