Sunday, October 14, 2012


Life got hard there for awhile. It still is hard. I feel like I was tossed into a bottomless pit of depression. And just when I feel like I can start to claw my way out of it, someone presses their foot against my forehead and I fall deeper and deeper into it. I still feel this way, sometimes. My family is going through some issues that are so monumental, sad and upsetting. On top of that, my dear sweet cat, Ashland, had to be put down. Ashland was one of those cats who is simply smarter than most of the people she met. She loved attention, and would see someone walking by, sit in the middle of the sidewalk, then, just as they were approaching, languidly roll onto her back with her furry belly just begging to be pet. She also had an odd habit of licking plastic grocery bags. When I would use them as garbage bags, she would go to extreme effort to lick a perfect line around the edge of the bag. Once she had made a full circle, she would look at the bag disdainfully, it had nothing left to offer.

Another challenge, which has been so much harder than I expected, was that I hit the realization that I think it's almost certain that I will be spending this coming winter, here on the boat. It's so easy in the summer sunshine, to get through a work day. I may be sweaty, exhausted and hungry by the time I get home, but I've spent 12 hours in the sun, staring at a beautiful view. Now, I leave for work in the morning looking up at the night sky full of stars. And when I head for home, the sky is almost as dark as in the morning. Our first fall rainstorm hit this last weekend, and as I look out over the river now, the dark heavy clouds look menacing, ready to pounce.

Ok. Enough. I didn't start this blog so I could have somewhere to moan and complain. I felt like I needed an explanation for not having updated my blog since late August.

The osprey got more and more interesting once all of the young learned to fly. There is a snag hanging horizontally, out over the river, about 30 feet downstream from the ferry landing. The young osprey loved to hang out there. They'd eat their fish there, cry at each other, and practice their landings from the snag. By the time both nests fledged, there were at least nine osprey living within sight of the ferry. They were a huge part of my daily life. I would watch them all the time, flying, swooping, diving into the river, and struggling to fly off with a fish. I came to work last sunday to an eerie silence. Before I even had the door to the cabin unlocked, I knew they were gone. The cacophony of cries from that many birds started long before dawn. And suddenly, silence. They've headed south, to overwinter in Mexico. Not a bad life, if you ask me.

And as you can imagine, it's gorgeous down here. We've had perfect fall weather to produce amazing color. Warm days and nights near freezing have made the trees just explode with reds, yellows, and oranges. When the cabin door is open, you can hear the trees. The leaves have all gotten drier, and you can hear even the slightest breeze rustle the leaves.

I came to work this morning to a nice surprise. On wednesday, a large weld had broken, leaving an important tension cable dangling. Not safe at all, and I closed around noon. When I came to work this morning, I discovered that not only was the cable fixed, but that the aprons were also fixed. Since May, the aprons haven't moved up and down, like they usually do. It was challenging, in the summer, when large trucks would get the ferry stuck hard to the ramp. Now, with the flip of a switch, I can raise the apron, and we merrily float off the ramp.

Did I tell you that someone caught an 8 foot sturgeon here? I didn't see him catch the fish, but I saw as he stood in the water, struggling to hold the fish up, so a friend could take pictures. It looked like a monster! I'm amazed that fish that large live around here.


  1. I'm really sorry your family is going through some trouble. I know how that can drag you down into a pit.

    Autumn is a weird season. On the one hand, I love that it's usually the beginning on the school year. But it's also the end of summer and all the plants and animals we enjoyed all summer are gone. It's bittersweet. Plus, no doubt you don't look forward to cold and dreary days on the ferry. I always have to remind myself that Autumn and Winter move just as quickly as Spring and Summer, and that it'll all come around again.

  2. I'm sorry to hear about Ashland. I understand how hard it is to lose a pet. Hills & valleys, hills & valleys...

    As always, I enjoyed your writing about the natural world around you.