Nap Time!

Tuesday I worked a long day in San Francisco. The evening project was to help paint a mural at the UCSF Children’s Hospital. I got home that night around 10:45 p.m.

Wednesday I had a site visit during the day at a wildlife refuge that brought such peace as soon as I entered that I must return often. It was wide open space, mostly salt marsh and salt ponds, and it was teeming with egret, heron, burrowing owl, avocet, and other avian wildlife (it hosts over 280 species of birds). There are also rabbits and an endangered mouse species there. The air was breezy, scented with the salty after-tide aroma of vegetation baking in the sun, and dozens of different birdcalls floated everywhere. My body felt it could breathe. Where is this wonderful place, you ask? It’s the Don Edwards Wildlife Refuge, and this was the environmental education center in Alviso. The refuge sits in the middle of the urban world, and it’s constantly adjusting to human encroachment. The marshes filter water before it enters the bay, and while that’s good for the bay, a lot of toxins build up. The salt ponds have been a location for the production of table salt for many, many years, and the company (Cargill) is slowly releasing the land back to the refuge to convert the ponds back into marshes. So, while the refuge is adorned with power lines and levees, these 30,000 acres of open bay, salt pond, salt marsh, mudflat, upland and vernal pool habitats remain a pocket of peace in an otherwise busy land.

Then (yes, there’s more), yesterday evening I worked at Second Harvest San Jose Food Bank. I and a dozen other people were assigned to the reclamation room. This is the room that receives all the discarded packaged goods from the grocery stores. Some food is past the “best by” date. Some packages are smashed or torn, cans are dented — whatever isn’t pretty enough to stay on the shelf is sent to the food bank. Much of the stuff is usable. We inspected each item, taped up boxes, threw away any package that had exposed contents (bags of sugar, pasta, drinks). We cleaned off containers that were sticky. We then sorted them into major groups: food, beverages, diapers, health and beauty, pet goods. By the end of the evening (two hours), we had sorted four tons of food.

And this morning I headed to San Mateo at 7:00 a.m. (a 28 mile drive that took an hour and 15 minutes) to the Peninsula Humane Society & SPCA. A corporate group arrived at 9:00 a.m. to accomplish four big tasks: the organization of animal supplies for disaster preparation; socialization of dogs at the kennel (behavior training); painting the doors of the after-hour drop-off kennels; and painting the entire cat room. The last project got a late start because the room wasn’t ready. The agency had a new floor installed, which was to have been completed yesterday, but wasn’t. They were finished by 10:00. My job was to supervise this task primarily but also to check on the others throughout the morning. Everything was finished and cleaned up by the appointed time (12:30), and people had lunch and left. I wanted to take home all the cats, by the way. So sweet. One had been there two years; his name is Tigger and he was the sweetest guy. The center also rescues wildlife of all types. Last weekend someone brought 4 peacocks in. They will live there until a home is found somewhere. (They were gorgeous!) Oh, their public service announcement was very touching. I confess it brought tears to my eyes.

And I? I walked a couple miles at least, and I’m spent. So if you don’t mind, even though it’s only mid-afternoon, I’m going to curl up with my cats for a little while. Tomorrow, thank goodness, is a “normal” office day. It will seem like vacation!

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4 Comments on “Nap Time!”

  1. Chad Says:

    “It was wide open space, mostly salt marsh and salt ponds, and it was teeming with egret…”

    Much better than teeming with regret, which is how I read it the first time.

  2. endment Says:

    You were busy!!!! Hope you have gotten lots and lots of rest!

  3. ptw Says:

    Are you an Austinite. I’ve got your blog on http://blogslides.com/austin because I found it on a list of Austin blogs. What’s your Austin connection?

  4. Kathryn Says:

    I lived in Austin for 10 years, earned a master’s degree and a license as a professional counselor, worked in mental health non-profits and had a private practice before moving to CA in 2004. I have friends and family there, and I met my husband in Austin. I think of myself as an expatriate. 🙂 We don’t plan to live in CA for the rest of our lives.