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.