Monday, April 09, 2007

48 Degrees 03' North; 122 Degrees 47' West

We just made it through the toughest winter we've ever had here. Okay, it was only our third winter, so we don't have much comparative evidence, but we heard from old timers that the winter was particularly grim and bleak. It drove me a little crazy. It's not just my psyche that cowered in the gloom, but my brown skin simply needed more sunlight to derive any benefit from the uv spectrum. There's a reason why paler skinned people could adapt to northern climes, and why Inuit make it through the dark season by living on fish. It all works out so well in a Darwinian sense. So what is a nice, non-fish-eating, semitic daughter of the desert doing in a place like this?
It's the modern world. We thought we could live anywhere. Who thinks about their skin pigment and latitude lines when considering where to retire? Certainly not us. We came for the natural beauty, the wildlife, the quiet. We came to be in a place where we could look down the beach and see a river otter scolding a gull. (Sorry for not having the gull in the shot, but this was taken at 48X digital zoom. You need to click on it to see how close the otter was to shore.) I wasn't even sure what I was seeing. I actually thought it was a stand-off between the gull and another larger shorebird! Maybe they were arguing over who could get the food here at this very spot.
But that otter spotted us before he could make his point, took off, and then watched us from the water with a rather toothy grin.
We came to be in a place where we could just turn our gaze from the water and look up into the trees to see eagles or a pileated woodpecker madly pecking, bark flying in all directions. We hushed and walked quietly, but this bird was not fazed by our presence one bit. He let us get very, very close. (Click on this for a redheaded treat.)
We came for all of this magnificence. We were the only people on the beach for miles. We came for that solitude too.

So, how do we survive the dark winter next? We've been doing research on the full spectrum lights to see if they stimulate the production of Vitamin D. So far, we haven't found anything conclusive. Does anyone out there know about full spectrum lights and Vitamin D?
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Don't forget to submit your Good Planets photos to Vicki at A Mark on the Wall. Send your pics that depict the beauty of our planet to vbennett at umich dot edu.

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