I was giddy with the thought of going to Iceland, and unnaturally focused on a chance to see puffins. So it broke my heart to witness a man catching them with a long net while they flew into their colony in the middle of Skjalfandi Bay. As much as I know that there is no untouched nature, no range unperturbed by man, I wanted to believe that the puffins could have an undisturbed refuge. It hurt to see puffin (and minke whale) on the menus dotting Reykjavik, knowing full well that my feelings on the subject change nothing, notwithstanding the small consolation that my refusal to purchase those meats at least didn’t increase demand.

But, on to more cheerful things!

Puffin Island, Iceland
Puffin Island, Iceland

Puffins don’t seem logical–they make flying look like hard work, don’t have audible bird calls, and bob on the water with their disproportional clown beaks.

I love their improbability, watching them skim the water with their frantic wing beats, swooping onto the cliff cluttered with distant black and white dots. I loved the chaos of their aerial ballet (if ballet was done by linebackers who didn’t make the cut for the pros).

But it all feels very fragile and transient, so some thoughts on global warming and puffins to come.

Worth watching:

This young boy’s take on eating animals:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NX4O6smZrLE

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