Mother’s Day gifts

Wildlife on the waterfront this morning
1 loon
2 otters
2 tiny, unidentified ducks
2 towhees, one north, one south doing a call and response
1 glaucous winged gull
infinte little brown jobs flitting about
1 flock of pigeons cooing under the neighbor’s dock

– imaginary sound of brakes screeching –

I experience a moment’s confusion …
wait a minute, pigeons aren’t wildlife …
don’t be daft, of course they’re wildlife …
but they live under bridges, under docks, not in the wild …
so you think they come from a factory? …

In the end I accept that pigeons are indeed wildlife. Yowza, sometimes my flashes of idiocy amaze me.

Endless opportunities to practice being a person on whom nothing is lost
Suddenly wake breaks on the beach. Surprised, I look up. There’s no boat in sight, the waves appear to have been spontaneously generated.

This is another marvel of the waterside. Though sound travels farther over water and views are unimpeded, you just can’t take everything in. Focused closely on immediate sounds and sights, things going on at just a little distance can escape notice completely. A boat just passed, but I didn’t hear its engine or see it moving, it was invisible to me.

Other times instantaneous events suddenly burst into view. Just the other day I was working inside the house, turned toward the water and just as my eyes passed over the distant shore a whale spouted. And yesterday I did the same and saw two eagles engaged in mid air combat – or lovemaking – framed in my living room window.

I got a Mother’s Day greeting from Jeremy in Virginia. In addition to expressing his adoration he requests that I work on making this blog applicable to those living on Chesapeake Bay and Flathead Lake.

Alright, challenge accepted. It just so happens that the other day I received a link from a marine environmentalist friend that directly relates Puget Sound and Chesapeake Bay. I’ve been hesitant to post this because I like keeping the tone light, but this is important stuff and I’d better go ahead and share.

Both of these bodies are estuaries. Both are in serious trouble.

Because an estuary provides protected anchorage, easy access to land and high concentrations of wildlife they have always attracted settlers. These days Puget Sound and Chesapeake are both almost entirely circled with cities and development. This places great stress on the aquatic environment as toxic road runoff, pesticides, industry, agriculture, household chemicals and even pharmaceuticals all make their way into the water.

Frontline recently aired Poisoned Waters, an important program about these two estuaries and the challenges they face. You can watch the entire program online.

No two ways about it, some changes will have to be made. So in addition to trying to purchase fewer things packaged in plastic, I also have to find alternatives to chemical laden products. I may end up with the baking soda shampoo sooner than I’d planned. Maybe one of my wonderful children will give me the gift of searching out a decent shampoo that doesn’t pollute, doesn’t come in plastic and doesn’t leave my hair feeling and looking like wrack.
Wildlife list update – I put my kayak in the water then went to get my gear and paddle. A deer crashed down the bank and galloped along the beach, then plunged in and swam far off shore.

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