Boyoboy, I can’t think of any time in my life I have felt LESS sensual. Life just isn’t like that these days. It seems to be more about regularity, eating right, hoping nothing breaks, and wondering if the retirement money will last as long as your life and what happens if it doesn’t?
I think that’s where dogs become more important. They are furry, fluffy, cozy, and snuggly. They are more than a best pal. They are the other “person” who remembers to kiss and hug you. Dogs love you and you can safely love them back. All they want is a biscuit and some playtime or a walk.
The longer I live, the rarer such behavior becomes. Someone who loves without wanting something back. Amazing, eh?
I’m not talking about when Churchill saved England from the Nazi invaders and got their army out of Dunkirk. It’s three o’clock in the afternoon, the finest hour for retired people to have an appointment. The next almost as fine hour is two o’clock.
Why? Because even if you got up late, there’s enough time for coffee, a shower, a check of your e-mail, a pat on the heads of the dogs. It’s before rush hour. Or, as we put it, traffic will probably not be stuck in the middle of Milford.
It isn’t a huge town, but there’s only one road running through. Route 16, which is the only road from where we live and at least three other towns are located, to anywhere. There literally is no other road.
Route 16 is not exactly a road, either. Sixteen is a route. This means it is made up of a bunch of different roads each of which has its own name but are part of the same route.
Exactly what is it a route to? First, it was a horse and carriage route on which they hauled produce, lumber, whatever. Then it was a mail route from out here all the way through Boston out into Lynn and points east. Mostly, for us, it’s the only way to get there from here.
To no one’s surprise, everything you need is either on Route 16 or just off Route 16 on a small side road. Regardless, you have to drive the same good old route 16 to get there.
It’s a middle-sized town with one road (Main Street, in town) in each direction. There is parking on both sides of the road. Biggest hospital in the area. Doctors offices. Veterinary hospitals. Restaurants. Medical buildings. Grocery stores and the occasion mini-mall.
Everything is on that route. I get tired thinking about it, especially today when we are having torrential rains and our driveway looks more like what it used to be — a seasonal stream.
Which was paved to become our driveway and the driveway of everyone on the south side (downslope) of Route 98.
It was one of the more brilliant moves by the idiot who built this house. I am told they actually ran him out-of-town eventually, but before that, he built a lot of houses in really awkward, inconvenient locations.
As you can imagine, it took us a while to add enough French drains, sumps, pumps, et al to keep our basements from filling up with water every time we had heavy weather, snow melt-off, or both.
For me, then, getting a 3 pm appointment in Upton — on the other side of Milford, but slightly north — is a winner. The receptionist knew it, too. She said “I think I have the perfect appointment for you. How about 3 pm on Friday, the 31st?”
“The WINNER!” I said with enthusiasm. It just doesn’t get better than that. Even on a snow day, it’s perfect because by that time, unless we’ve had a major blizzard, they have finally cleared the roads. Even ours.
Three pm. Forget the blue hour. Think three o’clock. It the senior circle’s finest time to do absolutely everything.
Streetlights. I love them! Especially in a city when the streets are a little wet from recent rain. The street light reflects in rainbow colors and the neon signs make a night in the city glow in a million colors.
As I type this, my friend Ben up from Arizona is snoring softly on the sofa. All three dogs are asleep. Amazingly, I’m NOT asleep … but I don’t seem to sleep much.
Not sleeping is not the same as energy. I have exactly as much as I need to get done what needs getting done. Shopping, a bit of cleaning, dogs, husband … and writing posts.
Okay, and taking a few pictures. Cooking.
But the energy and verve to go into Boston with all that TRAFFIC. Or take long drives. Traveling — airports and journeys? No energy. I get a headache thinking about airports and airplanes.
I might yet have another journey or two in me, but I was really hoping they’d have the transporter ready by now. Sadly, it has not arrived.
I remember having energy — even having a little to spare. Over time and a lot of surgeries and arthritis, it left home without me. I have good days when I get stuff done … and other days when I just can’t get myself in gear. I’m about to get myself in gear, but first, I have to wake up my sleeping friend. He doesn’t have quite as much energy as he used to either.
I’ve been reading a lot recently about a touching story that has caught the imagination of the world. It’s the very human and relatable story of a mother Orca whale, named Tahlequah, whose calf died shortly after birth. Tahlequah has been mourning her baby by carrying it around with her for over 17 days now.
Her family, or pod, have been traveling with her in a funeral procession covering over a thousand miles. The length of this mourning period is unprecedented for the species.
People have realized that the Orca’s behavior shows real emotional pain, similar to what humans feel. The attention the world has focused on Tahlequah has also focused attention and interest on the plight of the dwindling Orcas in the Seattle, Washington area. I’ll talk about that later.
The most interesting article I read was in the Sunday New York Times on August 5, 2018. It was called “ An Orca, Her Dead Calf and Us” and was written by Susan Casey.
The author talks about how ‘human’ the mother-child bond is in Orcas. Also, how social their close-knit family groups are. “Like us, Orcas are self-aware, cognitively skilled individuals that communicate using their pod’s signature dialect.”
Their core identity is communal, not individual. “Orcas are among Earth’s most socially sophisticated animals.” They live in matrilinear groups that can include four generations. The oldest females are in charge. Some can live to be 100 years old!
Fascinating fact – Orcas are one of just a few species, like humans, who go through menopause! This is because the grandmas are needed to devote themselves to training the younger generations. “The matriarchs serve as midwives, babysitters, navigators, and teachers.” Calves deprived of the care and influence of their grandmothers are ill-equipped for adult Orca life.
“Orca behavior and neuroanatomy point to a complex inner life.” Their brains are larger and in some ways more elaborate than ours, especially in areas devoted to social emotions and awareness. They have similar neurons to ours that relate to empathy, communication, intuition and social intelligence.
We have more in common with Orcas than we do with many other mammals. This makes it even more tragic that we are destroying the Orca’s habitats and putting the species at risk for extinction. There are only 75 Southern Orcas left in the Seattle habitat. There hasn’t been a successful birth there in three years. Many of the orcas have starved to death because their food supply is dwindling due to pollution and overfishing in the area.
Biologists and government officials are now working on a plan to save the youngest member of Tahlequah’s pod, a three-year-old who seems to be on the brink of starvation. They are tracking the young whale and trying to feed her antibiotic laced salmon.
They are also tracking Tahlequah because they are worried she may not be getting enough to eat, although members of her pod are bringing her food. It may not be enough because she is expending so much energy keeping her dead baby afloat.
If we don’t reverse some of the environmental problems we have created for the Southern Orcas, our grandchildren will only read about these amazing creatures in history books. Knowing how much we share, emotionally, socially and linguistically, makes the prospect of their extinction particularly depressing. But the attention that is being focused on Tahlequah may actually help her pod’s survival.
There are people who want to build a Trans Mountain Pipeline that would make the already dire situation of these Orcas much worse. Greenpeace, among other groups, is trying to stop this pipeline from being built.
Here we are again facing another Pick a Word challenge. The words I picked for you this time are hardly challenging. Still, I hope you will enjoy taking part in it: fortified, chic, submerged, embodiment, prehistoric.
Note from me: I’m happy to NOT have to look up the words!
To participate in the Ragtag Daily Prompt, create a Pingback to your post, or copy and paste the link to your post into the comments. And while you’re there, why not check out some of the other posts too!