Tuesday, January 21, 2014

To Venture out or not, There's the Hairball

      Hamlet's Cat Soliloquy
To go outside, and there perchance to stay
Or to remain within: that is the question:
Whether 'tis better for a cat to suffer
The cuffs and buffets of inclement weather
That Nature rains on those who roam abroad,
Or take a nap upon a scrap of carpet,
And so by dozing melt the solid hours
That clog the clock's bright gears with sullen time
And stall the dinner bell. To sit, to stare
Outdoors, and by a stare to seem to state
A wish to venture forth without delay,
Then when the portal's opened up, to stand
As if transfixed by doubt. To prowl; to sleep;
To choose not knowing when we may once more
Our re-admittance gain: aye, there's the hairball;
For if a paw were shaped to turn a knob,
Or work a lock or slip a window-catch,
And going out and coming in were made
As simple as the breaking of a bowl,
What cat would bear the household's petty plagues,
The cook's well-practised kicks, the butler's broom,
The infant's careless pokes, the tickled ears,
The trampled tail, and all the daily shocks
That fur is heir to, when, of his own free will,
He might his exodus or entrance make
with a mere mitten? Who would spaniels fear,
Or strays trespassing from a neighbour's yard,
But that the dread of our unheeded cries
And scratches at a barricaded door
No claw can open up, dispels our nerve
And makes us rather bear our humans' faults
Than run away to unguessed miseries?
Thus caution doth make house cats of us all;
And thus the bristling hair of resolution
Is softened up with the pale brush of thought,
And since our choices hinge on weighty things,
We pause upon the threshold of decision.

by Jack Kolb, Department of English UCLA 

My friend Bruce sent this great little poem today.  I don't know this Jack Kolb but he sounds distinctly English and he knows felines.

  This poem is particularly apt for those of us with cats… as we have had almost a week of incessant rain in Nice.  

There has been lots of hesitating at the door and Mozzi's upturned face as if we could turn the weather off and on for him at will.

 Today our marmalade fur person is off somewhere, respraying his territory and communing with nature. He spent quite a bit of time last week under the radiator but that's all changed now that it's a cloudless, glorious day. 

One of Bruce and Roxanne's noble beasts, here in Nice

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Hunting Island , Beaufort, S.C.

I am still looking back to my trip to South Carolina.   I never got to finish posting it and a few of you are curious to see the pics. 

I am behaving like Frank, a student I had when I taught second grade.  Frank seemed to take quite a few steps in place before he could move forward…and I mean literally.  That was how he got himself to run.  So here are two steps back, or in place…before I get started on 2014 and looking forward.

 When Dave and I left Charleston we headed for St Helena Island. This area of South Carolina is a Gullah stronghold where many of the first slaves lived.  There is still a very strong population of Gullah people in St Helena and at least one of the older ones spoke a dialect which was unintelligible to me when I asked him for restaurant ideas.   We were there on a Sunday and everything was shuttered but the churches .  In fact I could have walked to at least five churches near our motel in St Helena and I considered going to a service.  

 Actually, I would have loved to sing gospel, but instead we went to the Foolish Frog,  the best place to eat and the only place open on a Sunday.    It was our friendly, young waitress who advised us to go to Hunting Island before leaving the area .

Dave at Foolish Frog overlooking a view of the marshlands

 This island is a state park and one of the large secluded barrier islands.  It has been affected by an impressive amount of erosion too.  This effect creates dramatic sculptures of upturned trees in the sand and occasioned two removals of the lighthouse over its long history before it was decommissioned. 

  Here are a bunch of shots of the island, including the only storks we were to see on our trip.   They had found a pond in St Helena.

This osprey had a fish or is that an eel?

Big ole drumsticks all over the beach

The centerpiece of the island is an 1895 lighthouse.

Dave knows birds but they don't have these Storks in Oregon where he lives.

 Dave poses for me

This momma alligator poses too.  She moved into the visitors center pond and has made it her home for a few years.

Early morning start for the road to Bluffton.