. . . in an old Volvo station wagon Saturday evening, a dog sitting in the front passenger seat. She rolled down the window and said, ``Do you know where I can buy some fresh fish? There is a big black bird on the rocks just up from Lover's Point and I think it is starving. I know it is ill.''
The woman's name was Svetlana, and she had a tinge of a Swedish accent. She also conveyed a sense of urgency. Even her pooch seemed somehow worried. The bird, and other birds, Svetlana felt, were being poisoned, or at least made sick, by a nearby pipe they were drinking from which empties water into the Monterey Bay.
Lover's point, and you'll see it with no apostrophe or an apostrophe between the R and the S, or after the S, is in Pacific Grove, California, and looks out over the Monterey Bay Marine Sanctuary.
Monterey Bay is a treasure of marine life, a reason why there are more than a dozen marine biological laboratories and/or research centers lining its shores. They say if you could somehow empty the bay of its water it would closely resemble the Grand Canyon in breadth and depth. It's a vitally important resource.
When we first moved here, decades ago, and before the bay became a marine sanctuary, there was talk of exploring for oil. Immediately there were demonstrations against this, but there was a difference from such usual demonstrations – these included both liberals and conservatives. Even those on the Right were adamantly opposed to drilling.
Svetlana told us she had left a white bowl of clean water by the sick ``large black bird.'' We told her where she could find a market that would have fish. She smiled and said, as she pulled off, ``I hope I am in time.''
She was one of those people who made you feel pretty good about life. A large heart, maybe a bit off, but maybe most people with a large heart are. Perhaps it's necessary to do something like go on a fish hunt for a sick ``large black bird.''
It took us about ten minutes but Nancy and I found the bird and the bowl of water. We were astounded, because the bowl balanced on a precarious outcropping of rocks, which were being pounded by waves. It must have been a difficult and perhaps dangerous climb for Svetlana. I wished I had my camera with me. The bird, a cormorant, sat by the bowl and did, indeed, look ill. Nearby water dripped from the pipe Svetlana felt was making the cormorant, and other birds, ill.
This morning we walked down to see how the bird was doing. The cormorant was gone, the bowl empty and tipped to its side. I snapped a photo. Again I wondered how Svetlana had carried a bowl of water to that precipice of rock. It's fortunate she wasn't injured, but I have the feeling she didn't even think about the possibility of that happening.
Causes Steve Hauk Supports
City of Pacific Grove Public Library, Pacific Grove, California; Animal Friends Rescue Project, Pacific Grove; Animal Welfare Information and Assistance,...