Sunday, November 28, 2010

A good window

A good window may not aid in inputting all of this data. It does not help me to focus to watch the snow turn to rain turn to snow. Like a cat, or a bird, or my own sweet Vista, I look out and imagine the green grass on the either side of the glass.

And yet... something it helps. I wouldn't leave it and haven't left it all day.
Save of course for the moment or two (or forty-seven) when I ventured out to the other side to see if the wind howled louder in my imagination or in the real life out there. Real life usually wins in these situations and I assure you it won today with howling snowsleetrain.

Now I am back behind the glass. Watching water poke holes in the white ground so the earth can stare back at me. I am surrounded by living plants that could not survive without a good window to protect them from the cold harsh Alaska. Living plants that could not survive without a good window to let in the scant light from the cold harsh Alaska.

I am nose deep in whale tails that may or may not still be in the cold clearing waters just past the trees. I'm told if you stand outside at night you can hear them breathing from the porch. But I have on soft slippers and they get wet if I stand outside so I trust the boys who heard it themselves keeping company breath for breath with the whales. Each exhaling visible breath into the air- only one is steam the other smoke.

There is even a light underneath this window. Giving me reason to stay past here past the 3 p.m. sunsets that might otherwise herd me toward the warmth of my bed. After all, Vista's in bed. She's been there all day (save of course the 47 minute interlude mentioned above- where she ran and ran. Though you wouldn't know it from looking at her that any energy lurks within the pile of blankets she hides under). So here I sit.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Rough Draft... thoughts on the future

Everybody wants to work with whales. To look into their grapefruit sized eyes and see something of eternity in them, a relationship between man and nature proving the existence of inter-species communication. And even though I count myself one of the masses who wants this, who looks at the open ocean with the same sense of adventure that the naive boys bound to the enslavement of industrial whaling did- I find the whole thing a bit nauseating.

It is hard to hear the words "I want to work with whales" without somehow- consciously or sub-consciously- envisioning the marketing genius who spearheaded the "Save the Whales" campaign and giving her a good hard pat on the back.

Despite this I stand proudly before you and say straight faced and sober- I want to work with whales. I have spent the past four years as a Marine Naturalist observing the intricate behavior of humpback whales in Southeast Alaskan waters. It has been both my privilege and my job to interpret this behavior and find a way to make sense of it for the ten thousand cruise ship passengers who make their way to our waters annually because secretly they want to work with whales too.

There's more. I don't just want to watch whales. If I did I would continue to be a Marine Naturalist. I want to actively participate in understanding the behavior of these animals and link that to human activities modern and historic. That is why I am applying to your program. My background in anthropology, in the arts, and as a lifelong public speaker, push me into the realm of social science. My unabashed passion for the natural world as well as my work experience marine sciences pushes me toward the biological sciences. The delicate line balancing between the two fields is Environmental Science.

My research goals include examining the migration patterns of humpback whales and determining, through both biological analysis and ethnographic study, how human technology changes the migration patterns and social behaviors of humpback whales. I prefer to work with the Northern Pacific Humpback population and to study the history of industrial whaling in both Hawaiian and Alaskan waters. Additionally I think a valuable to study of Alaska and Hawaiian native people's relationship with humpback whales would provide insight into the historical changes of Humpback whale migration. This ethnographic information will provide insight into patterns of behavior in humpback whales....

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The weddng story

The sun broke the waters edge evenly and in lavender. It was subtle enough that they didn't notice the shift from the cloudy sedges of the milky way turning into the crisp edges of 4:30 dawn and the sleepy five, sweatshirted and toddied hardly knew the night was over as they ended their conversation on infinity and impermanence. The moment was made all the more ironic by the presence of a lobster fisherman just out of sight behind the islands culling in the shellfish with a cynical thought about the wedding the animals would be sacrificed too and how intensely the two in love had scoured the waterline for sight of the midnight boat. They were water people in the company of responsible charmers and the night party made a joyous ruckus to the stars in celebration of the upcoming ceremony. They jeered the couple on knowing that the anticipation of the event would far outweigh the exactly six and one half minutes that it would consume.

In the house with butterflies for bellies the parents restlessly and joyously watched the lavender turn to periwinkle to pink and they prepared to rise just as the vagabonds laid their heads down for sleep... It was a happy meeting unfortunately avoided by moments when the paths did not quite cross in the stairwell of the old Maine house. When wisdom woke and enthusiasm slept and one energy eeked into the other... as is meant for in weddings of this type.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

This morning

Driving to work this morning felt like moving from life into art. As if the road itself grew smeared with the weight of it's own oil paint... and the clouds hanging low over the water and glancing coyly up to the mountains above them were the breath of water colors and imagination. Just for a moment she wakes up- this great something- to sigh gently with kindness and reminds me that it is no crime to have faith in something... even when I have yet to begin to imagine what that something is. The sky so long absent from the reality of this winter stretches her legs and yawns as if she has not been hiding maliciously these months, but merely napping through the lesser part of a harsh wet winter. And I, like all indulgent women, remind myself only in retrospect that I am not being punished as I want to believe, this is no martyrdom, it is simply life on a scale much grander than my own. My frustrations lies in my inability to raise my own awareness to the level of that sleepy monster, that coy compassion, which is the sky, the mountains, the glaciers, and the water. The art I drove into this morning when I momentarily forgot the importance of my life.