Tidal Fugue

Hana and I were meandering through Herring House Park on the Duwamish River Tuesday afternoon.  She started making fun of how easily I get disoriented on trails (and streets and sidewalks, public buildings, our neighborhood, our home, the bathroom).  She said it was my topical agnosia.  I told her my condition had nothing to do with the Caribbean, which made her laugh.  She said, “Dad, I said topical, not tropical.”  That was funny and it lead me on a couple of tangents before I figured out the real mistake.  I explained it’s neither topical nor tropical agnosia; it’s topographical agnosia (likely from a head injury on the farm when I was young.  But I digress).  I’m not even sure topical agnosia is a real term.  And if it were real, it would probably only denote some dysfunction related to following conversations. 

I don’t have a big problem following conversations, but squirrels can distract me–distract anyone, really.  We eat chocolate bunnies but feed squirrels.  That’s nuts, isn’t it?  So anyway, I told Hana about laws in many states making it illegal to capriciously shoot distracting wildlife that are indigenous to an area, and that some of the gray squirrels in the park may be quite shootable–presuming I was recalling correctly that brown squirrels, not gray, were indigenous to Washington.  I might be wrong.  But of course, we weren’t there to shoot squirrels.  There weren’t any squirrels anyway.

We wouldn’t be shooting bunnies either, which were what we actually came to the park to find, to watch.  We’ve seen them on other visits and wondered if they were wild (indiginous?) or just discarded or escaped pets.  It’s hard to know.  We didn’t see any today–maybe because we wandered the north half of the park.  We usually walk the south half, closer to the nature preserve on nearby Kellogg Island.  If the bunnies are associated with the island–if they’re indigenous–if the bunnies swim from their marshy island hidey-holes each morning to nibble the lush park grass, if they’re too tired to hop an extra few hundred feet north, then that would explain why we didn’t see them today.

Anyway, instead of bunnies (squirrels too), we found an old barge tied up near the shore at the far north end of the park.  Maybe it was a salvage barge–hard to tell.  What was really interesting was its rotting wooden hull.  About one-hundred-fifty feet long with a rusty steel deck: it must have been a hundred years old.  Yet it was still afloat.  Well, actually, it might not have been afloat.  The tide was unusually low and the barge was steady and very close to shore.  It could be it’s been hard-aground for decades and at high tide looks like an old dock.  And maybe it’s really just sixty years old and a hundred feet long.  It’s still cool. 

If the bush we avoided really were poison ivy, that too would have been cool.  That would have finished the story nicely.

April 16, 2014


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