Tag Archives: wildlife

Into the wilds of Michigan

6 Aug

As the heat continues to beat down on me in Shanghai, my thoughts have flown to the other more pleasant places I have recently rested my head.  Towards the beginning of my long trip in June I was lucky to spend several days in northern Michigan at my family’s cottage on Lake Huron.  It is the place where I have gone ever since I was small to escape both from the normalcy and extreme pressures of life.

Branches of the trees tangle over the water leading to the dinner table

Branches of the trees tangle over the water leading to the dinner table

My first full summer in China I escaped there for a week after which I was able to recover from a near break down and finally abandon my perfectionist tendencies that were holding me back in China.  It is a comforting place – but one that is quite literally worlds away from where I currently call home.

Looking out towards the pines

Looking out towards the pines

Part of what makes it such a wonderful place to escape is the nature that surrounds the cottage.  Looking out the picture windows I can see Lake Huron and the ducks and seagulls that float and fly by.  On the lawn and behind the house are Michigan white pines that have seen generations of my family play and grow old.  There’s not a meal that goes by where a naughty squirrel won’t run across the lawn or a hummingbird samples the syrup at the feeder.  We have flowers surrounding the house – both real and plastic (the wind on the lake side punishes flowers) and the long drive that leads you in makes you believe you are miles from everywhere.

Spiders catch prey while I enjoy the view

Spiders catch prey while I enjoy the view

Even the "creatures" can enjoy the view

Reflections of home

We take friends on nightly deer watching rides as dusk slides over the land.  Skunks and bugs and bats all call this corner of northern Michigan home and they have been there much longer than I.  It is a constant battle against the sun or the wind or the water to preserve our privacy and the house that exists there.

Dusk at the water

Dusk at the water

On hot nights in Shanghai I go there in my dreams to the place where the lake laps at the shore and the bats and chipmunks scratch at the roof.  It is wild and it is home.

The perfect iris

A wild iris

This post was inspired by Ailsa’s travel theme – Wild.  I haven’t linked up with her for quite some time, so if you are curious about how others define Wild – click the link and check it out!

What does wild mean to you?  I think cities can be wild – the constant people and tall buildings and the acceptance of things that where everyone knows your name just don’t happen.  The wilds of nature have rules that are as old as time, where the rules in cities keep changing.  Which do you pick?

Travel theme – texture

20 Sep

After skipping a week of the travel theme at Where’s my Backpack, I am back this week with two shots that symbolize “texture” to me.

Can you feel the scales?

The first shot was one that Li took when we were on holiday in the Philippines earlier this year.  This extreme close up of a snake still makes me feel slightly uncomfortable when I look at it – but the shot itself captures the texture of the snake’s skin almost perfectly.  Looking at it I almost expect the snake’s tongue to come out of the monitor hissing towards me.

We took lots of shots of different wildlife while on that trip – if you’d like to see any of the others, you can check out my post from earlier this year on Wildlife in the Philippines.

Stone pocked texture

The second shot is one that I recently took when in Seoul, South Korea at the palace complex in Seoul.  I was fascinated by the different guardian animal/humans that surrounded various buildings and this one has the contrasting texture of the carving in the sculpture, but also the pock marked stone itself creating an interesting contrast.

I haven’t decided if this was a guardian of good or guardian of evil.  What do you think?

How do you view texture in the world around you?  If you’d like to see other people’s ideas of texture, please click on the link at the top of the post.

Exploring – Bohol Island, Philippines – wildlife

9 Feb

Along with the river cruise, we also had the opportunity to see several different types of wildlife.  Bohol is one of the last places on earth with the world’s smallest monkey, called the tarsier monkey.  My understanding is that there was a debate for quite a while as to if it really was a monkey – as when you see how small it is and the type of tail it has, it does resemble a rat with very big eyes.  One monkey could easily be carried in my two hands and a small one, maybe in one hand.

They told us that there are less than 300 of them left in the small section of rainforest that the Philippines people have managed to preserve.  In addition – they are nocturnal, so every one we saw – but one, was asleep.  Without the protection of people, this small monkey has very little chance of survival.  It is a bittersweet story – tourists come to see the monkey, but in their coming they also damage the habitat.

There were a lot of tourists there and because it was Chinese New Year, there were a lot of chinese tourists especially.  As we went to see the monkeys as they slept, each monkey had a volunteer standing beside it.  In Chinese, they were saying – “Don’t touch the monkey!  Don’t touch the monkey!”  It fits the stereotype of the rude Chinese tourist – they didn’t say it in English or any other language as far as we can tell.  Even with the warning, I saw at least one chinese tourist reach his hand into the cage.  For once, Americans were the well behaved crowd.

One of the other stops we made exploring Bohol was to a wild animal park.  We snapped some fun shots with the snakes, lizards and an ostrich before heading to our last stop for the day.

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How do you feel about animal preservation?  What’s the right balance between tourism and protection?

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