Monday, May 18, 2009

Skydiving, skunks, and space

That's Skratch and me on Sunday, coming in for our landings at Harvey Field in Snohomish. I'm in the front, both of us under our Stiletto canopies. That was Skratch's first in a while (see previous post), and I made three wonderful jumps with Linnie and friends, who is the most fun person I've jumped with in a while. She's over 60 herself and has created lots of jumps for low timers and low-key jumps for those of us who can't remember points any more (points are different formations you make with your skydiving friends in freefall).

I learned some fun things about Linnie yesterday. I already knew that in the many years she has jumped at Snohomish, she has never once shown up without some homemade goodie. Yesterday it was Rice Krispy cookies (yum!). Each time we went to the airplane to board, she had a few cookies and a dollar for the pilot. Turns out that she has always done this: she gives the pilot a dollar and says that she will ask for it back if he scares her. (She has only asked for it back once.) She never fails to do this, and she is usually the one who spots, because she's great at it, knowing all the ins and outs of the upper and lower winds. I just love jumping with Linnie. We had a great day.

That's the skydiving part of the title. The skunk part is really weird: I went out the door today for an eye doctor appointment and saw the most amazing scene on the front lawn: a huge skunk (and I mean huge) with a glass jar on its head. It was wandering around trying to figure out what to do: it could obviously see through the glass but couldn't get it off. I ran back into the apartment and called Skratch out to watch, and I reluctantly left for my appointment. When I got home, Skratch said he lost sight of the skunk and didn't know what happened to it. I did find out that one of our long-time apartment dwellers tried to help the skunk, going so far as trying to pull the glass off, until the skunk showed signs of distress (!) and she ran away. She called animal control and the police department; nobody wanted to help. I suppose the skunk will die because it can't eat or drink anything. It must have been rooting around and found the fateful glass jar with some tasty morsel deep within.

The space segment of the title has two parts. This weekend was the annual Welding Rodeo here in Bellingham. Every year there is a two-day-long welded sculpture competition, which works like this: Friday is amateur day, with teams made up of welding students, high school and/or college level, and on Saturday the professional teams compete. They are given a junkyard full of scrap metal and several hours to create a sculpture that is auctioned off at the end of the rodeo. Each year there is a different theme; this year's was "SPACE." We went over on Saturday and saw what the amateurs had created. My favorite was an artistic see-through globe, with continents and a molten core showing through, an orbiting space ship, and what looked to me like rings with rocks welded onto them, like maybe space debris. We watched the professionals working away for a while. (The link should carry photos of all the entries before too long.)

The second segment of Space is the Atlantis space shuttle mission, which has just finished all its work on the Hubble telescope as of today! It has been a wonderful and exciting mission, and we have access here to a link through the University of Washington in Seattle to watch all the space walks. (A certain someone is a little addicted to watching, and it's not me.)

And now on this rainy Monday evening, after three wonderful days of sun and adventure, I am grateful for so many things: living here in the Pacific Northwest, still having the ability to play in freefall with my friends, and feeling a little sad about the skunk out there somewhere near me who is destined to perish for reasons he doesn't understand.


  1. Fascinating post about your sky diving adventure. I do think you are brave!
    So sad about the skunk and even more sad that no one wanted to help. That is so terrible. People should always help animals. In this case it is our fault for leaving the glass jar where the skunk could access it. Oh dear!
    Blessings, Star

  2. Star, I have the hope that since the skunk cannot eat or drink that he will begin to get dehydrated quickly and the jar will slip off. We can give the Universe our prayers... I know I am.


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