If you ever ask what the show Seinfeld was about, your answer will be that it was a show about nothing. I know I did a bunch of stuff- did laundry (including both heavy blankets where the Monster kitty threw up a hairball), I made a breakfast casserole, stopped by the library to pick up my copies of “Seeds of Hope” by Jane Goodall, drove all the way to Padilla Bay outside of Anacortes for Beach Naturalist training, and even went grocery shopping to last through Saturday, when I am able to attend our first Whidbey Island farmers market. But I feel like it was a Seinfeld type of day. A day where nothing happened.
These days are bound to happen. It’s okay. They are part of the process. Not every day is going to be the day that you can write a phenomenal post that is life-altering and significant. I just wish they all could be.
I still don’t have a routine set at this point. There are a few things I set myself to do each and every day:
- My interpretation of a jog for one mile
- Work on my presentation for my workshop
- Research/contact opportunities
- Make lunch and dinner as healthy and “green” as possible
Today, I found a wonderful “rest stop” friend to visit during my one mile. His name is Charlie and he loves head scritches. And who am I to deny such a lovely creature such simple joys? The first time I encountered him, he bleahed as I passed by, but I didn’t know he was there, and thought some weirdo burped at me. He did it again as I passed by a second time, and I realized the big handsome guy was looking for attention. He loves it. And I welcome the break after climbing the monstrous hills (they aren’t that bad, but I have to give the semblance of an excuse to stop…).
I also contacted several farms around Whidbey Island to see if any of them were interested in hosting a short term intern or long term volunteer. I would love to spend some time at a farm for a variety of reasons. First, it’s important for me to know where my food is coming from. What better way than to work on the farm that produces my food? Second, if Chris and I decide to settle down, we would like to have some farm animals, and working on a farm would be great for gaining experience and knowledge of how to care for certain livestock (ie- goats). But my third and underlying reason is difficult to describe to farms, and maybe I shouldn’t mention it, but I think it’s important to be open and honest. Last year I read a couple disturbing books about the meat and dairy industry. One was by a particular author who also wrote “Death at SeaWorld”. I plan on discussing “Death at SeaWorld” on another occasion, but suffice to say, after reading DaSW, I was completely skeptical of his “research” for “Animal Factory”. The trouble with some of these books is they make blanket statements that appear to suggest that ALL farms are like the farms he described in his book, and I don’t buy that. I want to work on a local small farm to see how ethical and sustainable farmers work with their animals to reduce stress and provide good animal welfare and, thus, quality product to their customers. Unfortunately, all the farms I contacted said they weren’t in a position to allow volunteers or didn’t need any. So, back to the drawing board, and we’ll see what I can come up with for my little side project.
Driving all the way up to Deception Pass isn’t the most ideal scenario in my book, but the purpose is exciting to me, and something I know I have a lot of passion for and something I can give at this time. Beach Naturalists at Deception Pass staff tidepools or information tables and connect visitors to the animals they are about to meet, or possibly introduce them to the animals personally. I have never considered myself a beach person- I hate the feel of sand on my feet, it’s like nails on a chalkboard. But most of the beaches around Washington are not sandy grit, they are systems of rocky tidepools and the difference is staggering. Tidepools are full of life. I am enthralled with exploring tidepools myself, so sharing the experience of discovering so many animals hidden right before our eyes is something I can definitely get behind, and do so enthusiastically. I am reminded of William Stolzenburg’s book “Where the Wild Things Were”, where he describes a professor at the University of Washington demonstrating the importance of apex predators in every ecosystem by systematically removing all the sea stars from certain tidepools around Neah Bay. After only a short time, the tidepools without the sea stars completely collapsed. Without this vital apex predator, barnacles and mussels overtook the tidepool and crowded out all other lifeforms. But when they accomplished that, they themselves were left devoid of food and soon perished, leaving the tidepool devoid of all life. How amazing that something as “simple” as a sea star can create order and sustainability within a diverse ecosystem as a tidepool. I can’t wait to share this story with many visitors, and help them get connected to protecting not just the tidepools and the creatures that inhabit the tidal zones, but the connection of all animals to their environment. The sea star has so many powerful messages to teach us.
Okay, so not entirely a Seinfeld type of day…