Monday, July 30, 2012

The First Moment of Surprise

The weather report was not inviting: rain filled clouds, low lying fog.
So easy to change our plans due to weather, say "no" to the day, leave the raincoats hanging in the closet. Turn back. Throw in the towel. Do something else.

There's always a choice to change your mind; take a different road and just stay home.
Just stay home?

If there is even a slight chance of possibility, I'd rather embrace it and discover what's hiding just around the bend.  No matter it is uncomfortable gearing up with warm clothes and rain gear in the middle of the summer.

The weather in Prince William Sound was socked in, shrouded in rain and fog. Soft drizzly rain that curls your hair into boings, smells like the good green earth and lasts all day long. Still, we were determined to set shrimp pots and explore the bays and coves. Get a little wet. Munch on camp food. Feel our boots slosh along soggy shorelines.  After a while, you forget your discomfort and start to notice things besides the rain and fog.

The first moment of surprise was the heads of seals popping up out of the water; sleek and curious, watching us as we watched them. They hung out on rock outcroppings, plunging in and out of the water with a grace that belied their bulky, awkward bodies.

What are you looking at, they seemed to say!

We set the shrimp pots for a 4 hour time frame, and motored off to see what we could see.
The next moment of surprise: An eagle soaring from a tall, dripping wet spruce tree, no doubt eyeing the surface water for jumping fish. Lunch time for the keen-eyed hunter.

Yes, it's a hassle hauling around the weight and bulk of a 500 millimeter lens, but....

man, oh, it ever worth it.

So here is my prayer:

Dear God:

Please don't let a little rain stop me from seeing the colors of a dazzling rainbow.
Fill me with surprises, and
help me to overlook the little discomforts blocking the discovery of said surprises.
Tell me it's OK to sample new experiences, even though I may cringe in discomfort and fear  (for life is a banquet, and we are meant to live it)
Do not, under any circumstances, stunt my curiosity and sense of wonderment.

And please, don't let me get too used to sleeping in my own bed.

P.S.  We caught only two gallons of shrimp, but they were big ones!


  1. Wow! Some great surprises on your fainy day... I love the water, whether in a lake, river, or stream, or falling on my head... On a rainy day, seals gotta lounge, eagles gotta eat, Orcas gotta orc.. and a wet cowboy's gotta eat the head off a shrimp, ha... Keep on braving the weather, the best reason to get out of the house each day... Cheers, Mike

  2. Hahaha! Agreed. I love the water too; however you dish it up. I really miss the violent thunderstorms of the midwest though. What a magnificent charge. Mostly drizzle here.

  3. Lovely. Especially the part about getting used to sleeping in your own bed. Very nice. And stunning photos.

  4. Thank you, Gullible. I love the bear cam on your website. I've lived here for over 30 years, and still haven't been to Katmai National Park. Eventually......

  5. Monica, I love the writing (humidity curls my hair into boings, too!) and the photos (you and your camera work well together)! Though we see eagles sometimes in Wisconsin, your photo of an eagle in action made me catch my breath.

    1. Even though the weekend was particularly foggy, all the rain really greens up the islands.
      We're headed out again on Sunday for more explorations. Stay tuned!

  6. Monica I fall a little bit more in love with Alaska every time I read one of these posts. Your photographs are exquisite. What kind of camera do you use?

    1. I use a Canon D50; my husband took the picture of the eagle; he uses a Canon D5. We like it coz all the lenses are interchangeable. I'm having fun intentionally blurring nature shots so the end product sort of looks like a fine art painting (printing on canvas). Loads of fun.

  7. Monica I added Between Two Rivers to my Blogs I Follow at Sensuously Sixty. Did you read over at Susan J. Tweit about her Alaska experience? I have two friends doing a cruise (traditional) next month. I've got one of those small boat National Geographic cruises on my wish list!

    1. Same here, Judy. You're on my blogroll...connecting with other curious and fun-loving minds!

  8. Oh, thank you for the heads-up; I just left Susan a comment. Please keep in touch, Judy. If you ever do make it up here, I would love to meet you in person. My old college roommate came up on a cruise with her mom, then stayed with me for the weekend. Ties to old friends (and new) are precious.

  9. what an amazing day you must have had! As campers from North Wales (UK) we're pretty much used to rain; it's still nice to get out'n about though, you never know what you're gonna miss ;)
    Looking forward to reading more about your adventures!
    Mrs B []

    1. Beautiful photos, Mrs. B.
      And I like your cupcake site; I don't think I've ever seen so many imaginative ways to create cupcakes. Yum.