Saturday, August 16, 2008

Day 77-- Bear--Blue Ice, Brown Water

Wednesday is my last full day in the field, and of couse, a bear shows up on the ride out. He/she was on the beach about half way out, we stopped and Issac and JR hazed himn into the water. Got some decent pictures of him on the crest of the beach ridge. Seemed to be about 5', a teenager, not full grown. Got most of another burial excavated up by Anne's honda, the wind was so bad--about 25 MPH, gusting to 35---we put two hondas together with a large tarp to form a windbreak. Excavated him/her till about 3PM --looks to be another 12 yr old +or- 2 years, second molars are erupted but with no wear at all. Took a break at lunch and went down to the shore to get some picures of brown waves breaking over blue ice. Issac was kind enough to take some pictures of me in front of the ice with the brown waves breaking over them. I remember standing there smiling broadly thinking this is a good place to be at a good time--it just all felt right--The pictures look great, I don't remember looking or feeling so confident and relaxed, comfortable and in charge, in front of natural chaos. That will be my signature picture.
Wrapped up early so we could get to the Post Office so a lot of us could mail packages back. Said good-bye to everyone on Thursday morning as they left for the point.
Unfinished thoughts--
Lying on the bluff stretched out with my arm extended to take a transit shot and support the stadia rod--with the wind directly head-on so I can't even hear the radio--watching the gulls dive into the waves and pluck 3" long Tomcod out of the crest of the incoming waves. there is a line of about 20 of them just hovering in the wind fishing a school of them--Where did they learn that behavior? I've never heard of them being that patient and organized. Anne telling the story of the killer whales at Seaworld learning how to catch seagulls by retaining one of their herring treats and spitting it up into the air and if a gull took the bait and came in for it, snatching the gull off the water. They have taught three generations of them how to do that--again a behavior not seen in the wild.
If you close your eyes, you listen to the surf and it sounds exactly like the surf in Hawaii or California but it isn't--this has chunks of sea ice in it, and a 25 MPH cold wind in your face--I love it! It feels like work that is not only worthwhile but worth the time and effort to accomplish it. It fits me naturally, like a glove--There is a feeling of power, like gearing up for hockey, putting on all the layers and accroutments to do the job and them striding out to do it--there is no whining or complaining in archaeology.
Striding across the gravel, I'm gripped by the image of standing in the surf in Hawaii and watching your toes disappear in the sand and if you stand there longer, your feet and your ankles and calves sink in also. I get the feeling that if you stand still in the gravel the same thing will happen,first your boots, then your ankles and calves will disappear and pretty soon you'll become another dark organic stain in the gravel, like the ones we excavate. Best to keep moving.
I'll miss the approachability of the people here, not only the researchers but also the natives and residents. You can walk up to anyone, introduce yourself and strike up a conversation. People make eye contact here and are willing to engage and respond--that is a different experience from the lower world.
I like it here, I feel comfortable--and, dare I say it--Happy--

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