Sunday, May 9, 2010, 11:30 pm
I’m currently very cozy in my man sized pajama pants while snuggled under my Maasai blanket on my cowboys and bucking bronco print sheet covered bed in a little blue house in Ely, not too far from the main street in the town.
My day of travel went smoothly and was rather enjoyable. I alternated between reading the trashiest science fiction short stories and novelettes ever (apparently 1950s sci fi written by authors with rather androgynous names is the way to go for plane reading…though why every heroine no matter what planet she may come from has “green cat like eyes” and “flowing curtains of shimmering blonde hair” continues to baffle me) and listening to excellent music.*
It was a clear morning flying out of PDX and I loved getting a really great view of my home before leaving again for a few months. It was kind of a reminded that the wilderness I keep running off to seek also exists a lot closer to home too, but nevertheless I’m still very excited to be in Minnesota. Although I do miss home and friends and familiarity and of course Spec and the labradog, I love going new places. Between being 21 (and therefore young, silly and indecisive, with absolutely no idea of what I really want) and being American (and thus inheriting the sort of wanderlust that was what created this country in the first place), I feel like its only right to explore a little bit and find out what I think about other places in the country and world.
As I flew into the Twin Cities, I couldn’t believe how flat everything was – no hills, no valleys, just flat, flat, flat. But there are lakes EVERYWHERE. And fields in beautiful patches of golds, greys, greens and rich deep browns. After landing in Duluth and then driving with Tara (the intern coordinator) the two hours into Ely, I was struck by how how different it is from home.
There are dense patches of coniferous trees, but they aren’t the lean, lanky Douglas Firs that I am used to. There are many more deciduous trees and again…small bodies of water are to be found absolutely everywhere! We drove through a couple of small towns (including one that has a Target and a movie theater, about an hour away from Ely) and went straight to the Wolf Center.
I couldn’t be more excited about working here this summer. The center is fantastic and the wolves themselves are absolutely magnificent. Even after just a few minutes of informal observation it is easy to see that they each have distinct and strong personalities peeking out from behind their piercing yellow eyes which are both incredibly alien and yet somehow still captivating to the point of being nearly hypnotic. Denali is nonchalant and laid back, still a puppy at heart. Aidan, low man on the totem pole, constantly glances about nervously keeping an eye out for Maya, the dominant female who appears to enjoy roughing him up every now and then. Grizzer seems largely content as the second in command, while Shadow, the alpha male stands sentry.
I also learned that the wolves are fed largely on a diet of roadkill deer carcasses and beaver. Sometimes people also donate things like recently expired chicken, ducks, Cornish game hen or even extra moose meat leftover in the freezer from last year’s hunting season.
After seeing the center, Tara and I dropped my stuff of at the house and went out to dinner at a local Chinese/Viatnemese restaurant with my fellow intern and roommate, Galen. We will be living in the little blue house until the other interns arrive at the end of the month. Then, we will all move into apartments at the community college and reside there until the end of the summer. Galen and I have a lot of shared interests (a Star Wars/Serenity watching using the Wolf Center’s little movie theater room is already in the works for sometime before things get too busy) so conversation flowed easily and wetalked a lot about my trip to Africa and his travels in China, so I’m not really worried anymore about not having any friends in Ely this summer.
Well, its getting a little late and I start training tomorrow!
*Excellent music that I listened to on the plane and highly recommend
1) Beautiful Dawn (The Wailin’ Jennys) – this is my current favorite song
2) Consequence Free (Great Big Sea)
3) Brand New Day (Joshua Radin)
4) Young James Dean (Girlyman)
5) Frug (Rilo Kiley)