Friday, September 30, 2016

Crazy Days

Well, this week certainly turned out to be one for the record books.

After my volunteer time at the library, I came home with only 2 books, which is an incredible demonstration of restraint for me.

The gregarious and affectionate Clouseau got his annual shots and felt very pitiful for the next day and a half. It was so sad to see him moping around. But it was good in a way, because it reminded me how dear he is and how much I love him -- something that's easy to become complacent about, even with those we love the most. Fortunately he's now back to his usual charming self.

We had friends in town but my back was hurting something fierce and radiating around to the front of my chest. Normally I'm rather stoic, but it's been going on for a while and reached some kind of a peak that made me wonder if I could be having another heart attack. (In case you don't know, women's heart attack symptoms can be very different from men's elephant-on-the-chest symptoms, so it pays to be cautious.) So after a delicious Thai dinner Kayak Guy and our friends dropped me at the Emergency Room. Better safe than sorry, right?

I can promise you that when you show up with a history and complain of chest pain, the ER staff gets very focused, very quickly. An EKG and some lab work later and they confirmed I was not having a repeat episode, so we're looking at back pain and the usual treatments of moderate activity, heating pads, etc. And I was home in 2 hours, after promising to see my cardiologist the next day. She was concerned but also thinking back pain, so it's all good. Hooray for tests that can give real answers to important questions!

With the "all clear" safely in hand, we went kayaking. (Kayaking doesn't bother my back at all. Go figure.) The wild sunflowers bloom extravagantly along the shores of Lake Jesup this time of year, and we hoped to paddle among them as we did last year. Unfortunately, the water levels did not allow that, so we were forced to look from afar.

Too deep to walk, too bushy to paddle. Sunflowers in the distance. 
You can't get there from here.
Near the parking lot, a clump taller than my head.
Narrow-leaf Swamp Sunflower, a Florida native.

A thunderstorm that passed just south of us made for some exciting wind and water on the way home, but all's well that ends well. It makes a better story when you have a little drama to go along with your adventure.

After the week I've had, you can be sure I'm giving Friday the kind of side-eye that says, "All right, come on, but no funny business, okay?"

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

He Had Me at "Colonially"

I think I'm going to love this one. I heard a really interesting radio interview with the author (which now I can't find anywhere, or I would link to it), and realized I'd seen it in the "new nonfiction" section at the library, so I snapped it up promptly.

Now I'm in the delicious hiatus between acquiring a great new book to read and actually beginning the reading. So far I've just dipped a toe in, and I think it's going to be a good choice.

Here's how it begins:

I want to know what it is like to be a wild thing.

It may be possible to know. Neuroscience helps; so does a bit of philosophy and a lot of the poetry of John Clare. But most of all it involves inching dangerously down the evolutionary tree and into a hole in a Welsh hillside, or under the rocks in a Devon river, and learning about weightlessness, the shape of the wind, boredom, mulch in the nose, and the shudder and crack of dying things.

Nature writing has generally been about humans striding colonially around, describing what they see from six feet above the ground, or about humans pretending that animals wear clothes. This book is an attempt to see the world from the height of naked Welsh badgers, London foxes, Exmoor otters, Oxford swifts, and Scottish and West Country red deer; to learn what it is like to shuffle or swoop through a landscape that is mainly olfactory or auditory rather than visual. It's a sort of literary shamanism, and it has been fantastic fun.  

Monday, September 26, 2016

Home Again

Is there any pleasure sweeter than having a fun vacation and then returning home to the place and creatures you love?

I think not.

For fun vacation, see:

Parrotfish (including a blue one!)

Juvenile Damselfish

Scrawled Cowfish

Just one sunset


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Perfect Storm

I enjoyed finding this powerful confluence of black cat and ladder at my local bookstore. Ink is a charmingly languid docent of the fiction section.