Saturday, May 30, 2015

strange new world

The weather is stellar in Fairbanks: crystal blue skies, gentle breezes, the smell of new birch and poplar leaves, birdsong everywhere. This can mean only one thing: everyone I know has left town for summer work in Galena, or some other rural village.  Joanne and I took a quick trip (1200 miles round trip or so) to Juneau to meet up with her sister, and then she had to go right back to work. I came home a few days ago, and it feels rather lonely right now.

Don't get me wrong. This is why I moved here: to be out in the country away from the noise and stress. But I realized I was missing everyone. And so I joined Facebook. Or rather, I decided to resurrect my long-languishing Facebook account so I could hang out online with the people I like to hang out with face-to-face (usually holding glasses rather than books).

For the first few days it was rather fun, like dropping in on a swinging party that never stops. I uploaded photos, requested friends, got friends, and in no time was snooping around on everyone's pages, liking and commenting on their photos and stuff. I quickly learned that it's best not to overdo it, and I actually ended up apologizing to a friend because I felt that the tone of my comments might have sounded more rude than teasing and playful.

Overall my nearly two weeks on Facebook have so far been great.  But I'm learning the not-so-great part is the newsfeed page. It's a constant stream of things my friends share on my timeline, which for me can be either really fun and cool and inspiring, or something I don't understand or really don't need in my life. Some of these latter ones are listed below in no particular order:

1. Videos of ridiculously cute animals. These are so addictingly and annoyingly cute, I am even guilty of sharing two of them with friends.  The ones that do me in: lambs, ponies, ducks, tiny baby pigs with wet noses, and goats (or "goatsies" as one of my friends calls them).

2. Anything containing cats.  Once upon a time, I used to love cats. But they are dominating the internet and someone has to put a stop to it. I think if we all do our part, the internet will be cat-free one day.

3. Weird, dark, sometimes gross posts full of references my younger friends obviously find hilarious. Whatever. No comprendo.

4. Causes. These are okay in moderation. Moderation.

5. Uplifting Hallmark Card-like messages.  If I had a choice? I'd rather see the weird ones.

6. Ads.  The bright side: none have been pornographic.

7. Anything clearly designed to be manipulative. 

I am so cute and wee please don't eat meeeee!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

messy floor or Divine Message?

I was doing my morning yoga and saw this (whilst downward dogging)...

Saturday, May 9, 2015

just a morning in May

In another life, I thought I wanted to be an artist, so I did all of the things I thought an artist ought to do. That is, up to a point: the point at which it becomes difficult. At that point, one has to fight in order to continue. That is where I stopped.

In yet another life, I found myself on the path to becoming a scientist. This time, I recognized as soon as my foot touched the path that one has to fight to continue. And so I fight every day: I fight my laziness and my self-doubt, and I tell myself, if you give up, what will you have? You can only stop fighting if you have something else worth fighting for.

Today I was supposed to work on my data. But I said to myself: it’s a beautiful spring day. Why don’t you just be a living, breathing thing today? Forget the data. It will still be there tomorrow. So I had my coffee in bed with the window wide open, watching the morning unfold.

Then a bird hit my picture window. He bounced off and landed in a spruce tree just at eye level.  I grabbed my binoculars. He was a small thing, and his mottled coloring suggested he hadn’t left the nest all that long ago. For perhaps an hour he did nothing but sit very still, and it was clear he was in shock. I fully expected him to fall dead off his perch into my yard, because when do you ever see a bird sit still?

After that first hour, he limped to a different position on the tree, more inside the canopy. Most likely because the neighborhood had begun to wake up and there were all kinds of noises: car engines, bush planes, chattering squirrels and our local raven, who I’m convinced is nosy because he (or she) always flies low past my windows as if to see what I’m up to. I thought my little friend had been spotted and it was only a matter of time before Nosy would ambush-pluck him away from his hiding place. But my friend stayed still, puffed up like a small dark-feathered ball, and seemed to be napping off and on. After another hour, he began to stir, and groomed himself meticulously, flexing every feather.  Soon enough he began plucking at the twigs, foraging for bugs. After perhaps another hour the mild sunshine began to fade and a steady breeze blew. By then he was hopping from branch to branch, looking for more bugs.  The speed of his recovery was astonishing.  It was clear he was getting ready to fly away. After one short experimental flight to another part of the same tree, he launched himself into the wind and flew away.  All that was left were four little downy breast feathers stuck to my window. Soon enough, these flew away too.

After he’d gone I realized: what a lucky fool I am! I get to decide what to fight for: artist or scientist, soldier or pacifist, mother or childless woman. He could only be a bird, and that was the only thing he could fight for. But he did so splendidly.