Ever have one of those days? No, not one of those day, but one of Those Days. Capital-T-Those, Capital-D-Days, that just seems almost unbelievable, because of all the wonder you experienced?
Yesterday, I had the great priviledge to visit Santa Cruz Island of the Channel Islands off the coast of California. Upon approaching the island, our ferry was greeted by a huge flotilla of dolphins. Too many to count. Generally, it is said, for every dolphin you see, there are seven under water, which you don't. If I were to estimate the number of dolphins I saw jumping and leaping and surfing the ferry's wake, I'd have to say I saw 1,000...times seven...equals...a lot of dolphins! The kids and I could easily hear these beautiful creatures communicate in clicks and whistles as they rode the bow wake.
The island seemed to be greeting us also with a huge bouquet of sunny giant coreopsis over all of the hillsides. This plant only blooms for a short time and, perhaps because of the recent rains, she really showed off.
There is a National Park located on Santa Cruz Island, one of the Park Service's least frequented national parks. But there is another part of the island, which is even less frequented. Less frequented by humans, that is. There is a huge swath of land owned by the Nature Conservancy, whose stated mission is "to preserve the plants, animals and natural communities that represent the diversity of life on Earth by protecting the lands and waters they need to survive." And this the Nature Conservancy accomplishes by buying land and resources with important biodiversity and ecosystems and then preserving those ecosystems. Which means, to a great extent, culling non-native plants and animals--including humans--from the land. Humans are so infrequent here, that the very rare and endangered cat-like Santa Cruz Island fox can hardly be bothered by our big loud Toyota Tacoma to pitter patter out of the way on the bumpy dirt road.
Included in the Nature Conservancy's property is a historic cattle ranch, which the Nature Conservancy also lovingly and carefully conserves. The cattle and horses are long gone, but the lovely buildings and housings remain in this idyllic setting.
We ate a picnic lunch with a view to the mountains over this swimming pool. Yes, you're right: I imagined in my head I was the ranch owner, contemplating cattle prices, mending fences, scolding lackadaisical ranch hands and purchasing a fine new mount at the next rodeo. Hm? What? Say something? Oh. I guess I never outgrew pretend play.
A beautiful day full of wonder and surprise too must end, so back down the whitewashed pier to the waiting ferry with us. In a final farewell, a young grey whale shows off by breaching the surface. He first spy hops, waves a few times his tail, and then, AHHH! jumps way out of the water, twists and slaps down hard to make a splash worthy of this mighty mammal.
I'd like to also think that this showy display was a reminder to us that today is World Water Day. Water: We need it, we are it. So, let's take care of it. Cheers!
Thank you, Clay, for allowing us onto the Nature Conservancy property. Good luck with those grad school applications. Thank you, Gar and Ben for the invitation! It was an amazing day.
I hope you all have a day full of wonder today, as well.
Not a whale, exactly. Exactly, a grasshopper. Exactly a grasshopper perched on my son's dirty sock (because of the spikey-hurty things on his legs). Not a whale, but an impressive resident of the island nonetheless