A Bestiary

A bestiary is an illustrated collection of – not surprisingly – beasts.  It is a zoo on paper, a visual jungle, a forest trapped within a book's woven threads.

Santa Catalina isn't known for its assortment of animals.  It is part of a thirsty spine of islands called the Channel Islands.  There are eight in all, and Catalina is the most populous, sailing heavily like a pleasure ship that is filled to capacity.  It possesses one post office, two markets, two schools and thirty bars.  But it does not have a particularly lush animal population.

However, when Boyfriend and I returned from the place, I couldn't help but think about the creatures that were featured there.  Our vacation was a bestiary of beasties.

For instance, at the miniature golf course – a jungle in itself – a weary employee would always be present to direct one towards the tickets:

And after 18 holes, a person might be too spent to walk home.  Should that be the case, there were always two chauffeurs ready to drive you home:

On Saturday we took a tour of the island's interior.  We saw Pimu, the grounded bald eagle, still yearning, perhaps, for a whisper of the clouds' frosty air – a voice never forgotten:

There was Tachi, a Catalina Island Fox.  There are only 100 of these foxes left – their numbers crashing close to 90% within the past ten years.  She is a product of a captive breeding campaign, but when very young had an eye infection and had to be brought back to health by human hands.  She could never be released into the wild. 

We saw her briefly, a bundle of russet and silver:

Hidden inside a valley is the Escondido Ranch, home to a handful of dainty-faced Arabian horses.  They are proud of their refined profiles, of the silver saddles – embossed with desert landscapes and symbols – they carry, of their deep hearts:

They are also very wise, and don't hesitate to offer free advice to humans who are looking particularly lost:

And no trip to Catalina is complete without a visit with their bovine ambassadors:

It was lunchtime, however, so all meetings were cancelled until a later date:

Now, there are many times when our choices of society, of companions, are regrettable ones.  But for the few days that we were on the island, we were most fortunate in the company that we kept. 

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14 responses to “A Bestiary

  1. Wonderful pictures – I particularly like the Catalina Island Fox.

  2. Lovely pictures! That Arabian horse is beautiful and that bison is one regal behemoth. How tall is (s)he?And Aubrey, you ARE a fox.

  3. Got me good with this post, Aubrey! Love the commentary, and when I got to the first horse pic – stunning! A coffee-sip stopper! Then more great commentary and pics. Gah. "I'll be with you in a moment" – chuckling my head off here. Thank you!

  4. We've got nothing better to do than to wait for them to notice us… Any shred of attention will suffice! Beautiful!

  5. Wow, what a nice visit. Love the fox (how neat! but sucky it's so endangered), and the bison. and the Arabian! and the Aubrey! 🙂

  6. These are great! What a beautiful foxy!!

  7. I was once chased by one of those bison!Excellent weather for a Catalina visit. Did you stay over?

  8. If we could once again live in harmony with our animal companions, it would be a wonderful world again. We would probably love each other more too.

  9. awesome!i love love love the first picture of the big Bison. 🙂

  10. Looks like a fantastic time!

  11. An island with 30 bars – a twofer for me if ever there was one! "the grounded bald eagle, still yearning, perhaps, for a whisper of the clouds' frosty air – a voice never forgotten" — arresting. (no relationship to bars)

  12. and oh yes, those bison pictures are lovely. magnificent creatures. just the other day there was a segment on bison on an animal program, in fact. did you know they're excellent swimmers? and up to around 40 mph they can swim. with that bulk and wet fur, that's strength.

  13. I love all the pics. Especially the beautiful fox. Oh, poo, I loved them all.

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