I just read the news that Tahlequah is pregnant again. Oh, how I hope this baby will survive the pregnancy and thrive, for Tahlequah’s sake, for the pod’s sake, for the world.
Lynda V. Mapes, who covered the Tahlequah’s journey of grief for the Seattle Times two years ago, reports that scientists have confirmed the orca’s pregnancy from drone pictures. We can hope.
Down to a population of just 72 whales, every baby counts for southern resident orcas. And their chances for successful pregnancies are not good. About two-thirds of all southern resident pregnancies are typically lost, researcher Sam Wasser of the Center for Conservation Biology at the University of Washington has found. Stress from hunger due to lack of salmon is linked to the whales’ poor reproductive success…
Lima, Peru, 29 April 2020, COVID-19 Lock-up
by Rose Mary Boehm
These bars surprised me when we bought
the flat. Hated living behind bars.
But most people in the days of the terror
lived behind bars, and soon they
made me feel safe
in Lima, the town of thieves.
Coronavirus, and the bars are no longer
in place to keep out, but to keep in.
How many weeks has it been?
Too many, too few… It’ll be a while
yet. There are those who don’t believe.
Who defy the orders, authorities
who can be bought, too many who
drink, dance and make merry,
too many who die.
A conspiracy of death. The elderly, the young,
the black, the white, the gay, the poor, the evil,
the out of work, the workers,
And we have become prisoners
of reason and of fear.
The front door opens, the gateway to…
We have been immensely privileged to be able to enjoy open spaces and forest walks in these complicated times, but as the weather warms and more people are out, we have to find new, less traveled routes. Our masks are not enough when others do not wear them, nor honor the distancing that keeps us safe.
We have been spared the harsh nightmares that others are living through with COVID-19, but there is no escaping the new reality. The invisibility of the enemy and the uncertainty of the future are constant undercurrents.
With friends and family scattered across the globe, many in places where the virus has been devastating, we are extremely lucky to have had our little bubble of isolation in Tennessee. We have been sharing our quarantine with on of our sons and his family -only ten minutes from us – and were able to hold our new granddaughter as soon as she got home. (Thankful for the Knoxville hospital’s careful protocols!) Our Click List online shopping has been working well, except for the lack of bleach and other disinfectant products. We open the trunk, they load our groceries, we shut the trunk. No contact. The little sanitizer we have left stays in the car for gas pumps and drive through pickups.
Nevertheless, there is always a hovering nervousness, a fear of unwitting contamination. Did we wipe down every inch of packaging? Will a slip in the wiping of that bag of frozen peas come back to haunt us? Apparently, the virus can survive 6 months in a freezer! We haven’t seen our usual mailman in a while. What if he sneezed or coughed on our mail? Did we get too close to our neighbors while talking in the yard? Unlike us, several still go to their workplaces. Considering that the active virus has been found even on particles of air pollution, everything becomes suspect. I don’t walk around fearful, but at the back of my mind is the ever present possibility of inadvertent exposure to someone or something or some surface where the demon virus hides in wait. Nothing is taken for granted. No guarantees.
In the back of my head, a thousand future scenarios play out. I imagine a post-recovery period, looking back at the Before, considering the After. There is a new line drawn in the sand. Who will not be there? What businesses will be gone? How will architecture prepare for future pandemics? What new systems will be in place?
Here’s an author to watch! Stay on the lookout for whatever stories, novels, or series might spin out of her posts. J. Federle will take you far beyond Hansel and Gretel, past Red Riding Hood and her big bad wolf, and will leave Beauty in the safety of the happy-ever-after realm while Federle takes you into serious, often disturbing adventures with the unknown. Yet just as easily as she can terrify us, she can serve up humorous encounters with the paranormal and philosophical reflections on being and non-being…
Last spring, my sister and I drove to a dog park a bit further into the country. This “dog park” is better pictured as a pasture for horses: a wooden fence frames a massive field of rolling grass. The dogs did their dog-thing, and we headed to leave.
Before piling into the car, though, I begged my sister to let me take a photo.
Across the road from the parking lot, an old red bridge led into the woods. It fed whoever crossed it onto a walking path, one that dipped and turned before disappearing into the trees.
We didn’t think much of walking over. But as I took the photo, we heard… something.
It was an almost-scream? High-pitched and brief, but organic. From the fleshy throat of something living. We glanced at each other. At the direction it had come from—toward two trees to our left, where between them…
This story is part of a larger novel. The dune-covered mountain Yuraq Orqo (yuraq means white in Quechua, orqo means mountain) was sacred to the ancient Nazca culture. It became known as Cerro Blanco after the Spanish conquest. I read and heard several versions of its origin story while researching my novel, and wanted to include the essence of the tale, while weaving in some of the differing perspectives. Some were told like cautionary tales (the unfaithful wife will be punished), some were tales of liberation (the young savior who frees the unhappy daughter). Some featured battles between ancient gods, others were post-conquest intrigues between Lords and Ladies. What still strikes me as significant food for further rumination and exploration, is that the god/lord/curaca/chief and the lover/rescuer/thief both had names, but the female character was consistently referred to by the name of the mountain she became. She may be revered as a sacred mountain, but as a woman, she remains nameless.
“Patya had heard so many variations of the legend that she once asked her grandmother which one was right. Kuyllay replied that they all were. ‘There is never only one way to see something,’ she said. ‘Stories should keep you thinking.’ ”
just need to touch in here, to remind myself to leave a few tracks – in sand, mud, forest, hyperspace – to remember where I might have been in the world, in my head, or on the page.
I have a new story coming out Feb 10, 2020 on https://poydrasreview.com/ – excerpted from Daughter of the Nazca Moon (the novel hasn’t found a US home yet, but is is currently being translated into Spanish with possibilities of publishing in Peru)
NaNoWriMo kept me busy in November, working on the sequel where Patya travels to the altiplano of Peru and Boliva (still sixth century) in search of answers from the fabled society of Tiwanaku and the mystical Lake Titicaca.
In October, made a few dramatic hikes overlooking the lake, beginning at 3,800 meters above sea level… on up to nearly 5,000. slow but steady…
respectfully conscious of the movement of clouds, the direction of the wind, the proximity of the lightning, and the absence of refuge at the summit
It has been a long process, but our transition continues to be a true pachacuti in our lives, in the most positive sense of that Andean “turning over of worlds’. Closing chapters. Launching new beginnings. Re-prioritizing. Re-energizing. Refocusing. But above all, breathing in the mountains, enjoying family, and reinventing our surroundings. Such a blessing to be here! We have always had one foot in Peru, and one in the US. That will never change.