2008/09/16

Memory Lane

The sea walk is more popular than ever it seems, with this summer sun bonus. The benches are taken most of the time now. No matter, can sit on our balcony and watch the sky, the nautical, human and animal world.
This morning, seagulls in Rambo mode chased away a fish-eagle (Osprey), and, for an encore, a Blue Heron, who’d been waiting patiently focused for its breakfast.
This aggressive behaviour by the seagulls took me back a few years to South Georgia, Antarctica when fearless Skuas dive-bombed penguin chicks (and us too).
Other vignettes came next like frames in a movie, flashing images from the past, each one could be chapter in itself, but this is a blog, so here they are in “point form”. (It’s intriguing how all this is recorded and filed away into that mystery chamber called “memory”.)
-from the Skuas to an Elephant Seal Cub who roared at me like a lion, to the zodiac ride amongst icebergs where we could smell the fishy breath and almost pluck the barnacles from the humpback whales

- to the penguin family who used icebergs as a slide into icy waters
-to Albatross chicks we viewed after climbing a slippery, steep hill for a glimpse of the nests
-the millions of King Penguins, amongst whom we cautiously wandered
-massive Elephant Seal bulls, skirmishing with rivals to protect their harem
-this transferred me to an incident while snorkelling in the Galapagos when a male Fur Seal literally tossed me out of the water

-Blue-Footed Boobies, who performed a dapper parade, showing off their power-blue feet
-while all this talk of “elephants” took me back to The Elephant Orphanage in Sri Lanka, where I stood amongst the herd
-to 1972, when I spent a week with the Masai, as guest of a former trophy-hunter turned photographer-guide
-to Kenya, witnessing in the middle of the night at “Tree Tops Lodge” a Bush Baby (a nocturnal creature) with its enormous eyes, sitting quietly on a tree branch right, peering into my window
-a few years later, while on safari in Tsavo Park, a pride of lions having a siesta right in the middle of the road; our jeep coming to a full stop while we awaited the end of their nap
-still at Tsavo Park, when our guide suddenly came upon a herd of elephants, and he told us to be absolutely quiet or else we would upset the bull elephant that was keeping a wary eye on us and who started to flap his ears; but one of the female passengers suddenly started screaming in a primordial outburst of fear. Only the cool and clear mind of our driver got us out of that one! Never experienced a vehicle backing up so fast!
-reveries brought me next to Ibiza, 1961, where I had a donkey who came with rental of my dwelling; one day he hurt his leg against a small boulder on the road as we descended a hill into town; then upon returning from our trip to get art supplies, he refused to go on that section of the road, and made a big detour in a field. He remembered! They’re not all that dumb. And not the only ones with a ‘memory’.