“Who Sights It, Writes It”

By , June 8, 2011

We generally engage in low-level competition around here, taking pride in being the one to spot local wildlife. That enthusiasm doesn’t seem to extend to recording these sightings in our wildlife journal however. We’re all more than happy to watch whales go by, or sea lions playing off our rocks, or moose in the yard, but no one wants to pull out the journal and write the experience down afterward. Once the show is over, someone inevitably asks someone else, “did you record the sighting in the wildlife journal?” More often than not, the answer is no.

whale spouts in Lynn Canal

Two of the four whales that came up the fjord, inspiring the new “rule” (Photo: Mark Zeiger).

The other day, in response to this question from Michelle, who had just called our attention to four humpback whales coming up the fjord together, I hit upon a pithy little credo, which I propose to make a house rule: Who sights it, Writes it!

It seems simple, fair, and efficient, but we’ll see how it goes over, especially after Aly comes home. I do live in a house with 3 females (although one, Spice, can’t write or be trusted with writing instruments or paper) so I’m easily overruled. And, since we share the experiences as often as possible, there’s no real reason for the other observers to flatly refuse to record the sighting. Maybe it’s just a rule of thumb? We’ll see.

Tonight’s first quarter moon means it’s time for another Mary Oliver poem from Twelve Moons. Today’s poem, The Fish, is rather timely, as king salmon move up the Chilkat River. Here on the Chilkoot River side of Haines, I’m doing my best to catch as many Dolly Varden as I can, waiting for the pink salmon that will start running up our side soon. It’s so much easier to wait for the lesser fish to come to us than to go chasing the kings, but I may wander over to the other side for a stab at a king or two.

The fish of Ms. Oliver’s poem is obviously a salmon. It’s a pretty florid, romantic vision of the spawning process, but as fish fever takes hold, it seems rather appropriate.


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