Sunday, August 21, 2016

Over-Achiever's Anonymous

I am just going to say it.  I try to do too much.  I always have.  I suspect I always will.  My life is marked by periods of furious bursts of working, living, adventuring, and intermittent crashes where I spend long days as an introvert in pajamas, indoors, sleeping long hours.  As I get older, the ratio between the two types of days seems to be shifting.  I have a hard time with this.  Somehow I have always found rest...shameful.  To stay home, to sleep extra, is to sacrifice life's short time that could be spent seeing or doing, for none of us are granted the time and means to cover the globe and endless possibilities of a life in this universe.  Despite enjoying a weekend with books, purring kitties, and much needed sleep, I feel as though I have done nothing but squander the precious gift of August days in Alaska.  Even if it kind of feels like October out there today, and it feels more like 2am than 5pm, the knowledge that no tomorrow is promised usually haunts me to continued efforts, explorations, or just exhaustion.  But not this weekend.  This weekend I was a slug.

A fit pairing for this weekend is a book called "The Little Paris Bookshop,"  an excellent read.  At present the main character is taking forever to recuperate from a period of mourning long delayed.  He is learning what the mind, body, and soul need to heal.  'The hurting period' of the bereaved.  It isn't yet clear what lies beyond yet.

So this weekend I rested my own weary body and mind, immersed in my book.  I wrestled my guilts.  There were the obvious guilts of wasted time and squandered days, even guilt at the loss of a friendship that died out some time back.  Guilt at the relief of the end of tension.  But mostly I read.  Reading a good book makes me want to write my own stories, those that were real, that may be, and even those that flitted briefly at the dawn of consciousness after sleep but stayed with me for years.  There would be summer meadows, dances in the rain, moments when hearts broke against one another, and, of course, a vampire or two.

The Panthers weathered the melodrama and melancholy of the day.  Such things must not interrupt feeding time, nap time, or play time.  So I have now finished my book, packed away the emotions it brought, and swear to find some new adventures this week.  It should be easy.  The phone has already been ringing from work (yes it's Sunday).  And I have guests arriving on Friday.  Some of the former Bermuda crew will be en route in a few days.  Adventure, it seems, shall come knocking on my door this week after all.

The Little Paris Bookshop by Nina George...I challenge you to read it and not feel it.  That's it for now!

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Bear and the Raven

I think that when the winter comes, the bears must feel a bit like the rest of us.  How did the summer go by so fast?  Where have all the long days of sun and wind blowing in our fur, er, hair gone to?  This little bear seemed like he was feeling a little blue about the first snow of the year too.  He was holding onto some moose (or caribou bones) and regretting that he might not get to eat another one for several months I think.

In most native mythologies, the bear plays a central role.  Often the bear is a bad guy, so it seems humans for millenia have feared the power and cunning of these wonderful animals.  It's hard to spend any time watching these amazing creatures and feel anything other than respect or awe.  I believe they are very thoughtful animals.  I hate that fear, while understandable, leads to killing.  That mentality is a big chunk of what's wrong with our world today isn't it?

Anyway, on this day, our little bear was joined in his thoughts first by a magpie.  But he seemed to look upwards, and wait for another visitor, who soon arrived.

The raven.  Legends of the bear and the raven exist in several different groups of native american mythology.  In many, the raven is seen as the creator.  The trickster who beats the bear.  But my favorite is the myth cited as "Eskimo, Northern Bering Strait" where raven the creator finds the first human on a pod on the beach from a vine he created.  The raven watches the humans hunt, and begins to fear he will kill every creature on earth, including himself, so he creates the bear to keep the human in line.

Old friends Bear and Raven
The raven did not stay long, so it was just bear left to sit and contemplate the day away.  Bear did his best yogi meditation pose and thought it all at.

After a while, our little human like bear friend decided to roll over on the belly and be a bit more like a bear again.

One of the other bears when by for a stroll, crunching along of the snow and ice in a way most delicate for a bear that probably weight 600 pounds or so.

This little fawn did not make the Christmas card.  Unfortunately, the only time the little fawn stopped to be still, it was to make yellow snow.  So while undignified, this is the picture I got.

A few moments later I thought I was going to get treated to Bambi on ice.  But she decided she was not stepped on that surface with her gangly legs if she didn't have to.

Ah, OK, so I guess I did get a more dignified picture eventually.

The elk did not seem to mind the first snowfall at all.  They are well prepared and full on fuzzy, ready for days like these.  Look at how fluffy those ears are!

I think this next picture did make the Christmas card.  This little elk was so attentive and interested in watching me watch her, it made for some nice pictures.

And that wraps up the story of the first snowfall of 2015 in Alaska...and answers the question of friends back home of how I got the cool Christmas card photos (and did I really take the one of the bear).  Yup.  Life is good in Alaska.