The sky was patchy, gray upon gray, with an increase in light offering proof that the sun was about to rise, though not necessarily shine, when Koko and I went walking this morning.
Strong gusts carrying an occasional sprinkle of rain blasted through the ironwoods, sounding like a train on a track, surf on the shore, big wind in big trees.
It’s albatross weather, and I spent some time in their world yesterday afternoon as chilly squalls blew in off the ocean, prompting parents to fold their wings into windbreaks for their chicks, gather them up into their soft, warm breasts. Some even got the smoosh treatment, though they didn’t seem to mind.
And then I came back to the human world, and thought about writing about the destruction we’re wreaking on civilians and others in Afghanistan, what with our effort to “take Marjah,” just as we’ve sacrificed children and troops in countless other assaults on cities and strongholds across the globe over past decades and centuries, for reasons that tend to blur, or even be exposed as craven or false, through the lens of time.
I thought about writing about how President Obama has turned into a shill for the nuke industry, earmarking some $50 billion in federal loan guarantees for the most toxic of energy sources, which is now, Orwellian-like, being billed as “clean” because it is “carbon-free,” and making chilling comments like:
"On an issue that affects our economy, our security, and the future of our planet, we can't continue to be mired in the same old stale debates between left and right, between environmentalists and entrepreneurs," Obama said in a stop at a job training centre in Lanham, Maryland, a Washington suburb. "Our competitors are racing to create jobs and command growing energy industries. And nuclear energy is no exception," he said.
I thought about writing about the wasteful, $6 billion spectacle of the winter Olympics, which took one man’s life and had Canada ridiculously flying and trucking in snow, and the protests launched by the indigenous people there who raised a cry that is achingly familiar:
We are not a defeated people. This land was never surrendered. Our nations and our people still exist and will continue to exist.
I thought about writing about those topics, and then I thought about the albatross, tending their chicks so lovingly and carefully.
I thought about the teenagers that stop by to check out the nests, perhaps performing a bit of impromptu grooming before joining the other pre-breeders in their crooning, mooing, clacking flirtations, and the chick that, as my friend described it, had already flown, though the parent hasn’t yet given up hope.
I thought about the weeks-old chicks already practicing flight with stumpy wings that, in just a few months time, will span 7 to 8 feet.
And I decided to let my thoughts linger in that world for just a little longer.
Photos by Hob Osterlund