Tuesday, January 31, 2012

American Bison, Buffalo, China, Guatemala and Me

 I have not always lived in the eternally green and damp redwood coast.
 As a baby, born and until I was 21, raised in Wyoming - there were only one kind of magnificent creatures called to my mind when I heard the term Buffalo and it wasn't these domesticated animals or anything safe or controlled.

 I had seen these beautiful American Buffalo, alone and in vast herds.  I had watched them tear apart a tree to scratch an itchy spot, and form huge bare bowls in the prairie where they rolled in the dust.

I had learned that the very contrasting colors of the red calf and the green grass which made them so visible to my eyes, was perfectly the same tone when seen with the eyes of a predator.
 I don't have a picture, well I do, but in a non digital stack somewhere, of the "magical Moon" white Buffalo I was lucky enough to see and feed, in Custer South Dakota.  The legends and the fact of these strong and wild animals has been a part of the fabric of my life since I was a baby.

One of my friends had an Uncle with  a bull he could saddle and ride in the Fourth of July parade, but over-all I knew the result of getting too close to these animals, was trampling or being gored.  So even when I lived with a herd in Custer State Park, I treated them with awe, and respect from a distance, even though one would come and gaze in my window and leave big nose prints on the glass.
My son is farther away from the bison than it looks, and I want to warn people, don't put your loved ones near buffalo to get a picture.  I've seen it, it is DANGEROUS!

A Series of Pictures that I took for The Same Subject Challenge on 365 Project got me remembering why I had these little mementoes in my life in the first place

and reminded me that it is fun to be playful

         Watering Hole

                                                I'm having way too much fun with this. Starting to feel like someone is going to catch me out playing in the mud puddles with my toys.

Return to old watering holes for more than water; friends and dreams are there to meet you. 
African Proverb

My water buffalo have gone wallowing in the silk kimono, in front of the 1987 calendar I got when I was a student there. This includes and ancient selfie because the button on the bottom of the calendar is my husband and I in the imperial gardens in Xiamen. I had to include the Happiest Buddha

Crowfoot, Blackfoot warrior and orator

The breath of a buffalo in winter

"What is life? It is the flash of a firefly in the night. It is the breath of a buffalo in the wintertime. It is the little shadow which runs across the grass and loses itself in the sunset."

Caught at play with my buffalo

Then in 1987, My husband and I were lucky enough to be able to attend a college for Teacher prep. in Beijing, China.
 This is where I first saw the other kind of buffalo, the hard working, domesticated, seen with birds and children on their back, water loving BUFFALO

They were so different, but equally powerful and amazing.  I only managed a few pictures but filled my memory with them

My pottery buffalo came from China and the Wooden one was carved and purchased on a trip I took with my Mom and sons, to Guatemala in the mid 1990's

 Just for your viewing pleasure (I hope)  here are a few of the other things and places we saw in China

Mongolian Hot pot, cooking lamb and cabbage at the table

My husband, our history teacher, and I
"We" are not amused"
but hopefully we are amusing

Zai Jian 再见(until later)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Rain, Rain and More Rain

 According to the local paper, the Del Norte Triplicate, we have gotten 9 inches of rain in 4 days, while just a few miles up the hill, they got 18.  Unfortunately their water quickly flooded down hill through us on its mad dash to the sea.  Fortunately this area is good at absorbing water and the salmon and redwoods thrive
 This is really a tiny creek meandering over a sandy beach.
 Here the waves were breaking over Whaler Island, really a peninsula where the Coast Guard are stationed
 This was the soccer field where my boys used to play, funny, we called it flock of seagull soccer because the teams of 4 and 5 year olds ran and turned in unison, rarely following the ball.
 Often this is a beach where you can walk, and where the community sets up camp to watch the 4th of July fireworks from the pier.
 The sad "Star" a sailboat which washed onto the rock retaining wall.  A lot of that wall is chunks of concrete and tile from the old swimming pool, destroyed by the March 28, 1964 tsunami which killed 11 people and tore up the town.

 Every area has dangers which only the locals really understand. Growing up in Yellowstone the "tourons" would stand on a thin crust over boiling hot water, or try to pose their children next to a bear or buffalo. Here they want to get close to a basking sea lion, 1,000 pounds and teeth like a wolf and can move fast on land


this is the jetty, a breakwater built after the tsunami in March of 1964 killed 11 people and flattened most of the town. On sunny days its wide concrete top looks like a good place for a walk or even to drive your car out and watch the whales

I've lived here 23 years and lost count of the tragedies, when a pedestrian, or even a volkswagon full of people, are suddenly swept off the wall and onto the rocks by sneaker waves like this, and yet the power and beauty of the sea draws me back over and over

With our intense storms lately, there have been huge waves breaking over the wall continuously for days, and yet, there were two grey bearded windsurfers out just in front of me too.

I mock the stupidity of the tourist, yet in some ways I think better to die in the act of loving life than to die, old and afraid and never having dared the wind and the beasts.

I need coffee and to gat awake enough to do some work, this half dreaming mind of mine is strange this dark, stormy morning

 Seriously, don't drive around the danger sign to park on this jetty.

 I love crabbing on the B street pier, or just talking to people there.
 See the sailboat on the rocks and the windsurfer, an old graybeard, in the mid ground

 after this March 12, 2011 tsunami, our harbor was devastated, but the crabbing has now resumed and there are some places to dock the boats.

 This sea lion can move amazingly fast and his teeth resemble a wolf's, but isn't he cute?
Crabby snowmen waving hello