The Sea Was Angry That Day, My Friends

Patterns in the ice look like waves

Today’s post is a tribute to four things that have brought me joy.

The title is one of my favorite lines from Seinfeld, spoken by George in the episode “The Marine Biologist”, when his little lie that he was a marine biologist, told to impress a woman, snowballed and led him in the end to having to rescue a whale in distress. Thinking of my favorite lines from that show still make me laugh all these years later.

And whales are on the mind as I’ve been reading Herman Melville’s Moby Dick for the first time, I’m a fifth of the way in and have been enjoying it so far. It’s unfair as a modern reader to judge the whalers of the book by the abject slaughter that was to come, but even so, though I have yet to meet Captain Ahab or Moby Dick, and I don’t know the story of the book other than Ahab’s pursuit of his obsession, I hope the great white whale devours everyone by the end, save for Queequeg and Ishmael (who as the narrator I assume survives). I also hope that the whale can take to the land, and even the skies, scourge of wickedness no matter where it lies, no matter where it hides. Take care Captain Bildad, when you hear your a knockin’ at your door, that the great white whale lies not beyond!

That’s what Melville was known for, right? Superheroic whales? Shame the book was a failure during his lifetime, the opening line of “Call me Ishmael” is one of my favorites of any book for reasons I don’t yet understand myself, but it hooked me from the get go. I’ve been reading the novel on the train on my iPad, which has quickly become my favorite computer. It’s also the one I’d probably give up first if I had to, as I don’t use it for photography, but it has made riding the train so much more enjoyable than in years prior. And it’s gotten me reading books again. So hats off both to writers of novels and the engineers who designed the magic computer that lets me hold so many in my hands.

And finally, a tribute to the little refuge that is Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge where this picture was taken, not of the seas but a small section of ice in a quiet channel that froze in this rough pattern compared to the smooth ice that was all around it. I’ve spent more time than I’ll admit publicly in this spot looking for bitterns or whatever else might come by, and on this cold winter morning was treated to a variety of a patterns in the ice.

The Green Smile

A stream meanders through the Quinault Rain Forest

While I love the old growth sections of the rain forest with its massive trees, I love the younger forest too reclaiming this little section of the Olympic peninsula in the Quinault Rain Forest. I stood beside this meandering stream, swimming in a sea of green, a smile on my face. A little ways away young trees grew, covered in moss of course because this is the rain forest, while ferns grew in the open spaces below. Ferns whose ancestors first appeared hundreds of millions of years ago, before the flowering plants, but some of which have survived through to today. Some of which I grow in my yard, wood sorrel too, my little reminder of the forests that hold my heart.

Ferns grow below moss-covered trees in the Quinault Rain Forest

Han Solo, Frozen in Carbonite

Patterns in an old tree in the Hoh Rain Forest

Seeing Han Solo getting frozen in carbonite broke my heart as a child but it saved my life as an adult. I was hiking along the Hoh River Trail, reveling in the rain in the rain forest, when I saw this unusual formation in an old tree. I stepped back when I recognized the pose, like Solo all those years ago, an unfortunate photographer must have turned his back too long to the tree and was captured, enveloped, erased, as he slowly disappeared into the tree. Thinking back to that scene I’m glad they didn’t freeze my beloved Chewbacca too, I think that would have radicalized young Boolie and sent him over to the dark side.