Okay, the facts. Or should I say, the fact. The fact is that despite the ‘improving’ economy (not), we in our humble household have not taken a vacation in many moons, nor do we foresee one looming in many moons to come.  But that’s okay. I’m truly not (delete) complaining.  In fact, I’ve discovered a sort of replacement and it’s this: BOOKS!

Ha, you say, haven’t read a book in … many moons?? This is a sad truth and without having the stats in front of me, I’ll hazard a guess the reason is texting, IMing, YouTubing, Pinteresting, and other technological enablements.

Truth be known, I am also a geek, albeit one of Baby Boomer ilk. I’ve been at this technology thing since its inception in the workplace back in the late 1970s. However, as an English major, I am also a  reading geek, finding solace and escape in the pages of the usual 3 to 4 books I have going at any one time. And no, I do NOT have a NOOK or equivalent, and I have neither plans nor desire for one. I am too enchanted by the look, feel, and smell (yes, that wonderful aroma that comes from fanning the pages) of my real books.

These days, I am particularly fascinated with the journeys through time and geography I am taking with the likes of James Michener’s Alaska, Stephen King’s 11/22/63, and a bevy of historical novels by Anya Seton, Elizabeth Chadwick, Diana Gabaldon, and Paulina Simons.

I have journeyed to Nome, Alaska during the Great Klondike Goldrush in the late 1800s, experienced life in the 900s in England and France, walked through war zones and ducked bombs in the streets of Russia during WWII.

In short, I have traveled to, experienced with, and ‘met’ more interesting characters than I ever would during my online, technologically enhanced escapades. And just to repeat, the only “Nook” I’ll ever have is that cozy little place in my house where I get myself all warm and cozy, dog curled up next to me, book in hand.

Musings on Animals

The farrier came out to the barn morning. Outside it was dank and raw, having snowed some last night. Inside the barn it was warm and toasty, filled with the smell of green hay, musty horse fur, and of course, the perfume of horse poop. Does anyone else like the smell of horse poop as much as I do? Anyway, usually I ride on farrier days, but not today. The footing in the ring and on the trails was muddy and wet, and the outside chill bit right through to the soul. Instead, I moved into Buzzy’s stall for a short time.

Buzzy is my equine-buddy and best friend. He got his name because he actually buzzes. It is a sound he reserves for special greetings and to announce his ultimate contentment. He buzzed a lot this morning. In his stall, I took the curry to him and simply made gentle circles all over his body, but in particular, on his belly and while doing so, rested my head on his back. His body embraced me and he stopped munching his hay and went into a trance-like state. Occasionally he turned his head and nuzzled my butt.  If ever we were one, today was that day. Now I can get on with the rest of the day with a peacefulness that can only come from a pure connection with another being.

On another note, I am reading James Michener’s Alaska and he writes about sea otters and their exploitation by what else – man! Essentially, this amazing species was almost decimated when their fur was coveted for its beauty, richness and warmth, of course demanding exorbitant  prices and making its hunters rich. I cried when I read the section  that described a hunt and I relay a part of it here. But first, some background, and that is that these lovely creatures float along on their backs, the mothers carrying the young on their bellies and the males floating along beside. They are charming and adorable, almost human-like in their actions and looks. Michener writes:

“’We have her!’ Innokenti would shout, and with a burst of speed he and Zagoskin would virtually leap at the anguished mother, clubbing at her until the babe fell from her protective grasp. When the pursuers saw the little one afloat, Zagoskin would club it, reach out with a net, and pull it into the kayak. The mother, now bereft of her child, would begin swimming madly from one boat to another, searching for it, and as she approached each one, lamenting like a human mother, she suffered the blows that came from the gloating men and swam on to the next, pleading all the while in a high-pitched wail for the return of her child.”

The issue Michener  highlights is how man’s greed destroys these, and other magnificent creatures purely for financial gain. Sigh. Will it ever change?

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