Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Steve Zissou and the Star of India

     On a recent trip to San Diego we stayed a few blocks from Harbor Drive. The Star of India, whose description can be read here, became a pleasant fixture at the start of any walk I took along the water. 

     I'm not sure why I was so taken with her. Perhaps it tied me again to my fantasies about being on the water and living off the bounty of the sea, dreams that I fostered in my short time as a child in Rhode Island. One thing was conspicuously absent from the experience though, the smell; the Pacific just doesn't carry the same intoxicating nostril filling scent of salt and sea that the Atlantic does. Still, it is an ocean and I found myself moving nearer to it at every opportunity. 
     On our last morning there I met a kindred soul who shares my yen for the ocean, none other than Steve Zissou himself. He was there filming his latest foray over the deep and stopped in to do a bit piece on the very ship that greeted me each morning. We chatted for a spell and posed for a photo. He let me call him Stevesie. And before we departed, his assistant handed me a red cap and a Speedo. With a pat on my shoulder and a skip in my step we departed, he to his next adventure and me to mine as the happiest member of the Zissou Society that day.

Monday, June 9, 2014


     While walking in the pinyon-juniper woodland desert northeast of Walnut Canyon, I came upon this somewhat grisly scene. 
     I imagine that the tire might have held water and that this unlucky bovine was able to enjoy it for a short time before his untimely death at whatever hands. The carcass was completely empty, yet the stench of death lingered. Fortunately I was able to stand upwind to photograph the scene.
     Over the past year I've come to enjoy this strip of land, despite its having been ravaged by cattle and unethical wood cutters. It's obvious from aerial imagery, the difference between this exhausted land and the protected area within monument boundaries. 
     The lack of vegetation provides vista views and open off-trail hiking, but the large scale sacrifice of things like oxygen, food, and habitat is hard to reconcile with bare juniper stumps, spent bullet shells, clay pigeons, and beer bottles. Still, the flora and fauna there are worth a reverent look, even if it does mean staring into the eyes of human ignorance and irresponsibility for a while.