Friday, July 11, 2008

Off Slope: Hotter Than Habaneros



After six years in the Arctic, I've become rather spoiled by summer temperatures in the fifties and rush hour traffic involving fewer than ten vehicles. So, for me, the Dallas/Ft. Worth metro area, with its population of 6.1 million, seems like one big tangled confusion of concrete baking in the relentless Texas sun....way too hot!
Thankfully, my aunt's backyard is something of an oasis. The sound of the waterfall cascading into her pool and the chirps and tweets of wild birds flitting in and out of the trees was a calming and restful backdrop for quiet conversations with family that I don't see nearly often enough. It was wonderful.

Then we took walk on the wild side. Well...a drive, actually. The day before I had to leave for my conference in North Carolina, we drove a few hours southwest of Dallas to Fossil Rim Wildlife Center. We had a great time wandering the paths of the 1500 acre park, stopping now and then to feed a variety of species (mostly grazing animals) that enthusiastically met our vehicle. Sometimes their enthusiasm was a little intense. There were nervous moments...like when a zebra shoved his whole head into the open front passenger window....or when a deer drooled all over the driver's side window. Not a happy moment for my aunt. But, I caught a lot of it on video, so even the awkward moments will be funny...someday.

DSC00167


DSC00136

My nephew had a pair of toy binoculars that seemed to work pretty well. The sunroof was a great feature for touring in a park like Fossil Rim. I saw several people feeding giraffes from their sunroofs which made it a lot easier for the animal to reach the pellets. The pellets, by the way, are purchased from the park. Each vehicle is limited to one bag.

DSC00173


DSC00140


DSC00175


DSC00131

Some of the animals were absolutely comical and extremely persistent about being fed.

DSC00105

This emu just cracked me up! He almost looks like a cartoon character, don't you think?

DSC00191

Dallas was my first stop outside of Alaska. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that I've been checking Atqasuk's temperature and weather cam photo almost daily. I guess a part of me still wants to be there...riding four-wheelers on the tundra, fishing in the ice-cold river, or roasting marshmallows on the beach (in the sunshine) at 3 a.m. I don't have to close my eyes to imagine the sounds of the birds or the sweet scent of labrador tea carried by almost constant wind. The summer solstice has come and gone. Sunlight decreases daily. By the time I get home in August the flowers will be gone and berries will be ripening. Summer is short in the Arctic and missing it is definitely a trade-off. But I guess you can't feel homesick unless there's a place that feels like home. For me, that was a good thing to learn.

4 comments:

Rm said...

I'm with you on the temp thing. I could really go for some 50 degree weather right now. We had a heat index of 108 today! Lucia will be proud of your picture of her backyard. Looks so inviting. And it was nice in the pool. Cader is going to love the picture of his head through the roof! He was so proud of the camera and binoculars. He is still saving two pictures in his camera. He wanted to take a pic of you and Littie. So, now he can't decide what to use them for...not just women are indecisive. : )

Give Douglas a call and talk paint if you get a chance.

Love you. Have fun on your next summer adventure.

Kimberlee said...

One hundred and eight? Eek! I'd have to camp out in the shower or something! :)

I'm having a lot of fun. I can't believe how quickly the summer is flying by!

I'll try to connect with Douglas soon.

Love you, too. Talk to you soon.

Steve said...

I really like that closeup of the zebra.

Kimberlee said...

Thanks, Steve. That's one of my favorites too. :)