Saturday, April 27, 2013

Walking With Whales and A Bird in the Hand

Having recently found out that my blood pressure continues to be a bit high and that my blood sugar is elevated as well, and that I have a severe vitamine D deficiency, I decided to step up my fitness routine by walking to the gym a couple days a week. I tried this a while back and found it too unpleasant with the 50-mile per hour traffic in my neighborhood, but I think I've now hit on the solution: Drive to the sand and then walk to the gym along the beach. Round trip is probably about two miles, and since I usually walk on the sand after the gym anyway and then have to walk back to my car in the gym parking lot, the new plan only requires that I leave the house 40 minutes earlier. Since I get back home about half an hour earlier, the extra net time that I leave my Mom alone is only 10 minutes.

So yesterday was the first morning of the new fitness plan, and about five  minutes into my walk, I spotted four gray whales swimming parellell to the shore, heading north as I walked south. Long after we passed one another, I could still see their spouts when I turned around to look. Margaritaville continues to astonish me just one year and two weeks since I bought my house here. The birds alone might have sufficed to let me know I'd found paradise. Pelicans still take my breath away. And just recently I've finally sorted the willets from the whimbrels, and the whimbrels from the curlews--and I think I've recently added a type of godwit (marbled?) to the list of shore birds I can identify. The first time I saw dophins during one of my walks, it felt like a miracle. The whales caught me completely off guard. I didn't know they swam that close to shore. For all I know, maybe they don't usually.

A couple of days ago, I came across an injured bird on the beach. Sure that I had entered some kind of bird rescue number in my phone, I began scrolling for it while standing back so as not to alarm the  creature in distress. Not finding the number right away, the big questions began to ask themselves: Would it be better for the bird to remain where it was? What if it got rescued and spent its last moments in some claustrophobic tiled room literally circling the drain? Shouldn't it be allowed to die under the sky next to the sound of the waves? But while I was agonizing and scrolling, a woman strode toward the bird with a long-handled net. Without slowing,she walked just past the bird, got behind it, and dropped the net over the top of it. A few seconds later, she reached under the net and scooped the bird into her arms. She finagled her net then--folded it or shortened the handle somehow--and then placed a cloth  over the bird who was carried off under her arm like a privledged chihuahua.

photo credit: travelocity


Ms. Moon said...

These posts about your life give me something that I need. Thank you, dear Denise.

Elizabeth said...

Wow. And I love Ms. Moon's comment -- I get that and feel much the same. Did you happen to read the amazing essay on birding in a recent New Yorker? I think you should.