Saturday, 18 August 2007

I've never seen her do that before...

Det Regnar. It rains. Sweden is crap with climate change that increases the percipitation on the west coast, while drying out the Mediterranian. So, I can't enjoy my brief vacation.

At least ''our'' old cat still recognizes me! The normally aloof Steena returned to a couch-hiding, hand-nipping, stealthy playful kitten who I helped raise, a couple years before.

Swedish Cats (Steena)

me and steena

steena warrior princess

Thursday, 16 August 2007

Damn you!!

I made it. I'm in Sweden, Gothenburg in particular (no thanks to Sterling airline).
The unexpected has happened! I'm culture shocked! The Swedes seem so alien. I remember feeling so at home, but I've changed and I'm no longer in a relationship, so what was supposed to me a sort of ''home-coming'' is actually quite like being a stranger in a strange land. Is it that I'm just being older, less adaptable, malleable, too cozy in the nearly two years living safely within Canada/USA.

Its a time to learn, though. How to deal with ambiguous situations? How to extend myself, now retract into comfortable escapes...

Tuesday, 14 August 2007

Ontario Interregnum

In Washago I’m mixing old pastimes with new interests. Bridge jumping, climbing hand over hand up 20 m high steal scaffolding, to plunge into the limey lake Couchiching. We did this all the time as kids, it was the local summer hang out. Now, the highlight of the jump is the lone Caspian tern that skims a small fish from the river surface. It’s the same while canoeing down the rapids of the Black River: for 20 years I canoed that pathetically overdeveloped stream in Muskoka, and only now do I notice a Solitary Sandpiper on the rocky banks, fleeing downstream as I try to get an id. An American Woodcock similarly greets me in the woodlot behind my parent’s house, the only such “shorebird” bird to live its life totally in the coarse forest undergrowth. Was it always there, mistaken for some frantic grouse?

Suddenly, familiar places assume an adventurous allure. I’ve picked up the bird bug and it helps me transition from Alaska/Fish and Wildlife Service to humble Ontario. I see a molting American Golden-Plover, an old friend, stopping over in Prequ’ile Park, as well as what look like Spotted sandpipers, and a host of other new shorebirds. It’s the first time in 4 years since I’ve been in Ontario for the Summer, and in only two weeks I realize I know very little about its natural history.

And so it goes. Sweden, here I come!


Richard bridge jumps Washago

Ontario interregnum

Richard bridge jumping Washago

Bridge jumping and bird watching in Ontario

Thursday, 2 August 2007

Ontario? what the...

Flying into Seattle I saw the sun dip below the horizon for the first time in two months. Strangely, it wasn't strange. I anticipated that my time in the 24 hour sunlight of Barrow would have served me a serious reentry shock. On the contrary, I never really acclimatized to the tundra and the arctic: I loved its eerie terrain and flashy fauna, but it changed so much so rapidly, and our work was always changing, that my parents home in Ontario is like falling back to normality.

I'm bored. The canoe blew away. Shorkeling on riverine systems is nothing to compare with the Pacific northwest. I haven't met up with any friends yet. I read obsessively about birds, watch bird programs, to ease the transition I suppose. Really, I should be studying swedish and planning for that whole new life.

Perhaps I'll hitchhike to Lake Ontario and catch some arctic familiars on their migration south.