stormy seas, hawks, ospreys, and humans

I’m about to go off and live inland for several months and am trying to squeeze in as much ocean time as possible before that happens.  Since the winter storms have finally arrived, the waves have been exciting.  The beaches have all but disappeared and there are places where water and foam splashes over the cliff face and onto the sidewalk.  I’ve never seen the waves so high.

Few animal sightings in this turbulent water, but many in the skies above it.  Beautiful lines of pelicans.  Seagulls, of course.  And a couple of weeks ago, while walking downtown with my friend Joan, my first ever Santa Cruz osprey, a gorgeous bird with a white belly and dark band over its eyes.  It was perched high above us in a fir tree.  Just like the Days of Christmas song: “an osprey in a fir tree.”  That is how it goes, right?

At the other end of West Cliff, out by Natural Bridges a juvenile red-tailed hawk has been hanging about.  Two other walkers have named it — Madge, short for Majesty, obviously female, they told me, though this is less than obvious to me.  I first noticed Madge because she was exciting considerable attention from a group of crows.  They circled, shouted, dive-bombed her in sequence, like rebel pilots trying to take out the Death Star.  She was unperturbed.  She is already larger than they are and likely to become more so.

A final observation on the humans here:

Last Wednesday, I left my purse at the farmer’s market.  I took a pilates class and biked home.  More than an hour had passed before I realized it was missing.

I have a tenuous, temporary relationship with my things — they come into my life, they go out of it.  I’ve probably lost my purse almost a dozen times in the last twenty years, sometimes with large sums of cash, sometimes with all my credit cards, sometimes with my passport, my phone inside.

And every single time this has happened, my purse has been returned to me, contents intact.

I rushed back to the market to find the booths all closed and disassembled.  Also, my purse, being cared for by a representative of Dirty Girl Farms.  ”We kept waiting for you to come back,” he told me.

I know others have other experiences.  But for what it’s worth, this has always been mine.

One thought on “stormy seas, hawks, ospreys, and humans

  1. Hello Ms. Fowler! I hope you enjoy whatever amount of time you have left at the coast. I don’t know how often you read comments but I felt compelled to leave a comment anyway. I read your book We are all completely beside ourselves last year and it left a strong impression on me. I feel like society credits individuals for having strong opinions but I just felt stuck in the gray area that comes with being both an animal and human empathizer. Thank you for the book that made me feel less of an outsider in the world of conservation and really pushed me to take up the cause with even more passion.

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