Tuesday, October 16, 2007

A micro world of life.

One thing that I have taken more of a notice to lately is the life of the lake on which we live. Not that I never noticed the lake, but more of now that our world is slowing down and we are becoming what we can call "settled" in our new life, I have found the lake calling more to my attention. As I have mentioned in posts past, there seems to be a world of a different level within the confines of this wetland sanctuary. We have noticed an unspoken oath between the various water fowl and other creatures that frequent the lake. One of peace, sharing and communication amongst those that gather about it. An interdependence on each other. It is a serene feeling actually to watch and listen as a silent observer and yet as such, these creatures are very aware of us onlookers and willing to go about their doings despite our presence. During the summer months we had 2 loons who lived on the lake, and it was a daily spectacle to watch them float around and chatter be it to each other or the moose, or when they would be airborne and coming in for a landing it was like watching a float plane skim the waters surface to a splash of a stop....just to go on like it's no big deal for them. Playing. Just like children. I am not sure where they have gone, but I am sure it is wherever loons go in the onset of winter, and something tells me they will be back in Spring. Of course on a larger scale were the antics of the neighborhood moose's, their swims across the lake, and their howling both day and night. The way the moose and the loons virtually communicated with each other. The moose are still quite present here, and as the lake has somewhat quieted down for the winter so have they. The howling and swimming has turned to shoreline grazing. Almost like the party's over and the guests all went home, so they will settle down to a casual lull. And so on the wing (pardon the pun) of a new season arrived two very majestic....not stoically, rather, just majestic....Tundra Swans. Oh these two fowl are just beautiful to watch. Their regimen consists of a stealth-like landing into the lake...which is amazing to me when you look at their size...and what would appear to the layman as just a mere floating about. In reality these two are swimming the shallows where they dip their long necks into the lakes bed to pull out worms and other food from the silty bottom. If you watch long enough it will appear as if they left, but they are really just somewhere else along the lakes shore. Then, almost as if they are preparing for take off like a couple of jetliners in a hold pattern on the tarmac, they will start to shake off and rustle about, and with almost precision timing will begin to sprawl their wings into the lakes length, slowly lifting their mass from the water and into the air. They will circle the lake twice as if to gain altitude to clear the tips of the trees and then it seems as if they have chose their flight path right over the house. Let me tell you, even the dogs stare up at them as they fly past! Their wing-span has to be at least 5 or 6 feet. They have visited the lake twice now that we know of in the past 3 weeks. Apparently they choose their mates and this mate will become a lifelong mate. They will always be together. We have also taken observation to two other species of new arrivals to the lakes scene. Now Maryann is more on to what they are called than I. Both are small duck-like fowl. The first set of arrivals seemed to just enjoy floating....it appears to me at least that that is all they do is float. They do occasionally dive under the surface of the water, only to reappear yards from where they submerged. More than likely diving for food. What was particularly funny was the other day when Cherokee and Kenai were having their daily session of 'grab-ass', and ended up in the back chasing each other around the swing. One of these mini ducks was close by and literally turned to see what the commotion was. His curiosity got the best of him as he began to float towards the direction of the noise. Now the two dogs are completely unaware of it's presence and the proximity to the shore, and ensue chase down the trail towards the lake. It took only the sight of the onslaught of flying fur for this little guy to casually and nonchalantly turn his rudders to head out for deeper water! Wanted nothing to do with these two and their trickery. Also as of the other day has been the arrival of another small white and black mini duck. Seems to be the same ritual as the other variety of mini duck....just enjoys the passivity of the lake. Last week came the beginning of the freeze over on the water. All the time, these visitors undeterred by this. To be able to watch all of this can't be described in words unfortunately....you just have to come and visit to see it for yourselves! All I know is that it is very peaceful to observe and can bring the busyness of the day to a complete halt at the chance to settle into the surroundings of the lake. My favorite mornings are when we wake to find fog settled above the water, or even better was in the early fall when the fog would blow in from the beach and drift the length of the lake. So awesome to watch. Mind you these mornings are becoming few, for me at least, as it is still dark when I leave for work. With the sun rising at around 8:40AM now it is getting tough to wake up! Any way you look at it, the lake has a life of it's own, and one can see how it would be easy to let this feeling of quiet lucidity take you into a complete sense of 'oneness' with the lake and the world that relies on it's presence, within yet a larger existence of being.
Yesterday was the opening season for Bearing Sea crab fishing. You know what that means....fauder for the upcoming season of deadliest catch. As you may have figured by now what with this post is, that I am not on those crab boats as some predicted may come about. No, I have developed a love affair with the land and a warm fire to come home to at night. It is not likely that this will ever happen for me! Apparently the number of fishermen lost during the crab fishing seasons in the 1990's is down in the past 7 years. Something like 70 deaths in 90's and if I remember correctly it is under 10 the past seven years. The weather to start this season is relatively mild. As mild as mild is on the Bearing Sea. Dutch Harbor is coming in with lows in the mid 30's and scattered rain and snow throughout the night. So it will be interesting to see how brutal.....or not, this season is for those brave and hard working men and women. God bless them, they will be in our prayers. That's all for now I suppose. We are all well and making an earnest go at it these days. I finally got the reverse osmosis water unit installed so we have good, wholesome drinking water now that doesn't smell like butt! At least in the kitchen. The rest of the house is another story. Argh! Nasty! Take care and have a positive filled week. Our love.


mike kiriluk said...

i do so enjoy reading your blog/journal and being able to experience in some small way your adventure-as i recall,Mary Anne or yourself mentioned at one point that you were thinking about writing a book about your alaskan illuminations which i would if you don't mind encourage...
have you thought of approaching the local paper(if you have one) about doing a column for them-alaska through the clear fresh eyes of someone new to the environment...what about poetry?
speaking of poetry...was coming back from fresno last monday and there in some small nameless pond by the roadside somewhere between
le grange and sonora were a couple of swans which i stopped and scoped with my binoculars but they were too far away for positive identifcation but probably tundra swans so will send you a poem i wrote that starts with the image of tundra swans but that will have to wait till later...am way late for feeding the hourses...

Anonymous said...

Hi Greg,its stephanie laubenstein and I got this site from our old friend Brad MInton....How the heck are you?It must be awesome living in Alaska with your wife and family..I am in NC until december then I move with my family to NY.Just wnated to stop byt and say hi and see if you remeber me?my email is stepschweikhard@yahoo.com
stop by and say hi some time..hope you and your family are doing great