Wednesday, July 9, 2008

The Island Diaries- Part 1

There are vultures circling above me.
Five of them, to be exact, with bedraggled tails, feathers askew, and conspicuous bald red heads.

This leaves me a little uneasy, in all honesty. Despite being assured that they are but scavengers, and thus unlikely to bother me unless I appear particularly carrion-like, I am not entirely reassured. Their imposing manner of swooping leaves me convinced that their talons may be perfectly Princess-sized, and thus I wince a little each time their shadow darkens my view.

While the question of why these scraggly birds of death have shown a sudden interest in our deck seems like the most evident one at the moment, I also find myself wondering what strange forces of nature brought vultures, of all creatures, to this little island in the Pacific Northwest. The eagles, falcons, seals, deer, tree frogs—those all fit within my image of a woodland sanctuary of sorts. But vultures? These are the scavengers of the lion carcasses of the savannah, not the vacation homes of Canada.

(And, in all honesty, I am hiding indoors right now. Every one else is fast snoozing in their afternoon nap, and thus would not be able to hear my cries when I was scooped up to be brought to a cliff-top nest to be wedded to the Vulture King.)

***

Other than the circling vultures overhead, though, this truly is a bit of paradise. We are located on the crest of a small mountain, with a sprawling deck that the trees open up perfectly for, framing the bay and the ocean below like a sort of stage, with foliage serving as the side curtains. It doesn’t hurt that the soundtrack is the twittering of the baby swallows in a nearby birdhouse, who are apparently due to attempt their first flight in the days to come.

After so long in the city, one almost forgets what the stars look like. We sit on deck chairs with our necks thrown back, our eyes a little unable to process the millions of specks above. I am able to point out the Big Dipper, Cassiopeia, but the remainder are sort of like playing connect the dots to make up one’s own constellation, complete with legend and moralistic ending, such as “Don’t have sex with Zeus if you don’t want to be turned into an alligator”.

The oddest thing, though, is how the stars fade away as they are overtaken by the glare of the city across the water. At night, its orange-ish hue overtakes the horizon, surrounding it in an almost toxic looking bubble. It doesn’t look like a series of skyscrapers or filled with ant-like swarming people, but rather one massive tinted entity. It is odd to realize that I am usually situated smack-dab in the middle of that haze, and that, looking out from that end of things, I cannot even see this island, without the telltale markings of streetlights and billboards.

***

PS. In case you can't tell, paradise tends to be an internet-free zone... hence why I am sitting on the side of the road with my laptop right now, scoring some free wifi, like the classy tourist that I am.

22 comments:

Caz said...

hmmm pacific northwest eh? big orange city haze? something about an island... methinks you may be thereabouts vancouver somewhere and/or the gulf islands? or farther north?

I'm glad someone's enjoying the summer on the west coast. It's rainy and cold here in Oz!

rs27 said...

I wanted a pet vulture growing up.

My mom said maybe.

Mom is so crazy!

Ant said...

A post to conjure up the longing for the countryside...

Got any pics?

Tin Ma'am said...

oooh that really sounds fun!

As for vultures... I think those are, by far, some of the scariest birds I've ever seen! You should post pictures.

lissa said...

wow sounds wonderful. i cannot imagine being anywhere near the vultures. how ridiculous. i would be so frightened. def try to post pics of them.

deutlich said...

Yay for free internets!

Maxie said...

I'm not sure how I'm going to handle not having internet for a week while I'm at the beach, so I don't judge anyone with the way they get online. LOL

I'll probably end up in a psych ward or something.

lspoon said...

Got any extra room up there? Vultures aside it sounds so nice and relaxing :)

SMARTBuddy said...

Stars with no light pollution are the best thing ever. Apart from vultures, obviously

Rachel said...

vultures let you know where the sick people live...avoid where they fly and you should catch anything bad, like leprosy or dehydration.

Alexa said...

oooo i wanna go somewhere were there is no internet. just for like a week to see what happens. ha

Jenn said...

I can only imagine what lengths I'd go to in order to use the Internet in an Internet-free zone.

This coming from the girl who sat outside of the library in the middle of January stealing their wi-fi. It's sad..I know.

NamesAreHardToPick said...

Well the way you describe it, I'd give anything to be where you are right now.

Katelin said...

vultures seriously freak me out. we used to have buzzards on my campus at school and even those bothered me, yikes.

but at least the rest of the vacation is nice :)

Yoda said...

Vote Yoda for Prez!

I promise free Wi-fi all across America!!

Bayjb said...

Wow your vacation sounds perfect and relaxing, minus the birds that are trying to kill you. Don't let it turn into a Hitchcock movie.

the almost right word said...

i'm jealous...

Marianne said...

Sounds amaaazing. Paris is so hot and urban here at the moment, I am longing to get out to some beautiful countryside and dramatic landscapes!

Therapeutic Ramblings said...

Sometimes we all need a break from our day to day lives.....enjoy the scenery!

Kayleigh said...

i am beyond jealous. i've never been to the pacific northwest, and vultures or not, i am very intrigued.

oh, and keep on keeping it classy over there :)

Half-Past Kissin' Time said...

Glad you checked in. Seattle itself has it's own kind of beauty, but it sounds like you find it wherever you go :) (easier some places than others, of course!)

Misfit said...

What a pretty description. Hope you're enjoying your travels!