A Face in the Crowd for WPC 2/21/18

A Face in the Crowd

This might be a stretch. But if you happen to be a regular reader, you might be getting the idea that I am kind of a Rule Bender in a quiet-ish way.

This week, first came the Weekly Photo Challenge. I searched and thought and plotted to find or take a great Face-in-the-Crowd shot. I had the same weird internal ethical debates I always have about taking photos of strangers without their permission…even a face in a crowd.

Then my grandsons invited me to watch a movie. We watched Okja, an odd little Korean film. (Trailer down below, but it’s full of spoilers…better to watch unprepared, in my opinion.)  By the way, Common Sense Media says 15 years plus, and though my grandsons are 12 and 14, I agree. My oldest one kept saying “one minute you think this is a great kid’s movie and the next it’s really, REALLY not!”

I will tell you that while watching it, I couldn’t help but thinking about the Weekly Photo Challenge Theme….which made me start thinking in a whole new direction.

I love animals and I tell you what, it is getting more and more difficult to eat anything with a face. I have been mostly vegetarian for almost 50 years…no red meat of any kind during that time and only the occasional fish and poultry…including Salmon of course ( I DO live in the Northwest after all) and Turkey on Thanksgiving!

With this movie giving me a new way of thinking of the face in the crowd, I remembered an experience a few years back that left me both in awe for the beauty of it and a kind of disgust and guilt for the fact of it.

On a repeated vacation to San Diego, the place where we stay has this massive Koi Pond. For a quarter, you can feed the spectacularly colorful fish.

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They were beautiful and I suppose there is value in sharing that contained beauty with people if it heightens their consciousness about our cohabitants on Mother Earth. (Don’t get me started on the two sides of the whole Zoo Debate.)

But it was also an example of a pitiful and frightening feeding frenzy.

There was this one fish-face that caught my eye. I kept my eye on him so I knew it was the same one over and over. His face kept appearing midst the fevered quest for food.

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Maybe it was that he was so huge and that made me wonder if this had been his whole life, battle after crowded battle for tidbits of man-made cereal nuggets.

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That thought made me incredibly sad. I mean, Koi can live for up to 200 years! And these guys had already been trapped in this resort pond for 35 years that I know of.

It just felt wrong.

I don’t know any resolution, or if there even needs to be one. I mean, I raise Giant Leaf Bugs and keep them in a terrarium for their entire lives…my rationale being they live almost a year longer in my captivity than in their native wild. My cats are strictly indoor cats for the same reason…longer lives than if they ventured out among the hawks and coyotes in my area.

Anyway, this is my Face in the Crowd post for the week.

I’d love to hear what you think.

 

5 Interesting Facts About Koi Fish from https://www.sweeneyfeeders.com/5-interesting-facts-koi-fish/

 

1. Koi fish originate from Japan and represent love and friendship in Japanese culture.

 

2. Most koi fish outlive their owners, having a lifespan of 200+ years.

 

3. They come in a variety of colors, not just orange. They may appear orange, yellow, white, red and black.

 

4. Owners who received their koi fish as a gift are believed to have good luck.

 

5. In Japan, koi fish are often passed down from generation to generation, as a family heirloom.

 

 

Dear M.I.A. Badfish,

I have no good photographs, just a few snapshots, as proof for my current plight but I AM thinking of you this morning as I sit in the Starbucks closest to my house. We had to come here to thaw and eat and get internet….all things I have never done before…at least, not at a Starbucks. (Not a coffee drinker and there really isn’t much here I would normally eat.)

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pitiful snowman in front of Starbucks

You’ll no doubt have a chuckle as to the reason we are in this predicament…you, a Colorado Cowboy and all!

The Seattle area is blessed to never have more snow than just a bit of decoration. You know, a pretty dusting that everyone photographs and sends out to friends “See, we have snow here too!” The whole area shuts down and takes vacation days.  It’s not that there aren’t thousands of snow bunnies here. We just prefer our snow to remain in it’s proper place, which is 40 minutes away in the Cascade mountains at Alpental or Crystal Mountain.

I guess if these intrepid Hummers can make it, I should stop complaining!

We had a major snow dump here about 4 days ago…not the fluffy white decorative stuff, but heavy, HEAVY wet snow. The kind that tears 3 inch thick branches right off their trunks! And I’m talking about hundreds of beautiful trees. The result is our whole area looks like a tornado went through…downed trees, ripped off branches, and NO POWER!!! For days now.

Hey, I have camped and hiked my whole life. I’ve lived for days without any power or running water (granted, many of those days were spent at various outdoor music festivals and I may or may not have been assisted chemically to be able to ignore any such hardships) but I really am getting too old for this life-style. To have to come to a Starbucks for food, coffee, warmth (and to brush my teeth and sneak a quick sponge bath) is a new low.

I told you! You are chuckling, right? I know how spoiled I am, believe me. I realize how lucky we are to not live in 3rd world conditions (at least, not yet. I guess we’ll see after a few more months of “He Whose Name Shall Not Be Spoken” in office).

If we were in our mountain retreat, at least we’d have the woodstove for heat and cooking and we’d have water (icy from the spring and well, but heatable).

But here’s the thing. Short of the discomfort of having to beg for a place to shower and warm up from my newly un-estranged sister, (they have power at their house) and the risk of losing all my bugs to this cold, I feel incredibly blessed.

The Seattle/Bellevue area has a huge, seriously shameful number of homeless, and though I am deeply impacted every single time I see a makeshift home under a bridge or a small temporary tent-city, I still haven’t done anything.

I feel a resolve today I have never felt before. I can’t believe how bad it must be in the snow, the rain, the cold without heat and food and hot water. Maybe in some ways a lot worse than in a country where the norm is to live with the minimum for generations. I know in your travels you have probably seen such a variety of living I know nothing about, except what I read.

I don’t feel guilty exactly, well, maybe for all the bitching I do for slow internet or other mundane and trivial things like that.

But I do feel inspiration. No idea for what yet, but something.

I’m starting here, with a post from my dear friend Karuna, to get an idea where to start.

https://livinglearningandlettinggo.wordpress.com/2014/11/09/tent-cities-in-seattleking-county/

If the cold didn’t wreak such havoc with my particular thyroid disease (Hashimoto’s) I’d have absolutely no reason to complain. I could choose to look at this whole thing as a grand adventure, which I have been trying to do with my grandsons who live with us. Hey, they’ve had 3 days of school being closed so they’re happy, mostly.

But whatever I do next, even if it’s just to take blankets to a tent city, those boys are coming with me!

Thanks for listening Mr. Fish. I miss you.

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At my sister’s house, in anticipation of better weather