After a childhood of summer road trips, I visited the Canadian prairies for the first time in winter this past February. I was bitten good and hard; I keep fantasizing about that delicious frosty wind and wondering when I can get back.
Ever notice how librarians seem to really be into cats?
That’s not a coincidence.
Have you ever heard of library cats?
They’re domesticated cats that live in libraries worldwide.
It might seem like some strange new fad, but libraries and cats go way back – waaaaaaay back.
These furry librarians were first hired around 3rd century BCE at the Ancient Library of Alexandria by a librarian named Petsis to perform an invaluable job: to protect the library’s collection from pests like mice and rats, which are still a bane on libraries everywhere to this day (no matter how clean a library might be).
Here’s a few examples of feline librarians around the globe:
Israel, at Gulbenkian Library; Jerusalem, Israel
Dewey Readmore Books, at Spencer Public Library; Spencer, Iowa, US
NEOS, at the
Fairview Campus library of Grande Prairie Regional College; Grande Prairie, Alberta, Canada
(his namesake is the name of the online catalogue program used by a consortium of public and academic libraries across Alberta; my university library during my undergrad used it, actually)
Library Cat, at the University of Edinburgh Central Library; Edinburgh, Scotland
Kuzya, at the
Novorossiysk Public Library; Novorossiysk, Russia
He’s required to wear a bow tie because as the Assistant Librarian he has to look dapper on the job. (No, really).
a few people (usually at gas stations, noting my hail destroyed car) have asked, “why do you storm chase” and the only good answer I have is “why don’t you?”
it’s true I’m not a classical storm chaser. I tend to entirely different areas of the storm than most do (the part that still has some light if possible) and really, I’m a photographer chasing a photo more than a storm chaser but I can’t imagine why anyone wouldn’t want to scream across the prairie after some monster so big and alive you can hardly take it all in (even at 15mm). the complexity, drama, violence and power make almost anything possible. I’ve seen things that took my breath away, and cowered in my car praying my glass would hold and that nothing terribly nasty was living in that shroud of rain that pinned me to where I was.
I’ve wasted entire days on hope.
I hope that storm can organize itself despite all the science saying it can’t. I hope I can get to this spot on the map before it does. I hope the light holds. or the road hasn’t heaved too bad this winter.
every year i commit myself to only chase the big bad boys that have structure, and form, and the rare magic of a fully formed super cell and every year I find myself rolling across the gravel roads after some pulse storm that maybe, just maybe has something pretty in it.
so entering year three of really learning and chasing more seriously my answer would be, why aren’t you out there, living and dying with the gust fronts and hail cores and living creatures sucking up the prairie moist. really. why?
one of the things I was most excited about when I got a drone was the ability to see some of my favourite places from a new angle. The very first night I was over at my favourite barn at sunset.
only thing is there is a massive hawk that likes to perch on the edge of the barn at sunset and look for dinner. I don’t want my drone to be dinner.
so I went back, and I went back, and I went back. four separate sunsets gambled (and mostly spent) on this place and when I rolled up last night there wasn’t a single hawk on the perch.
there were two.
I pulled in to turn around because I’m not going to purposely scare an animal out of it’s dinner hour just so you kids can see pretty pictures but a huge monster truck went by right then (i’ve never had anything good happen around one of those souped up pickup trucks till now) and they took off for deeper fields.
I flew for a single battery, getting some photos and video then heard them screeching around in nearby trees and packed it in.
Milky Way Rising and Aurora on a May Night by Alan Dyer Via Flickr: The arch of the northern summer Milky Way across the Alberta prairie sky on a spring night, with the glow of aurora to the north at left. At right are Saturn and Antares in Scorpius low in the south, and bright Jupiter at far right, with Spica to the left of Jupiter and Arcturus above at top right. The Summer Triangle stars are at centre straddling the Milky Way…Shot from home with the Rokinon 14mm SP lens at f/2.5 and Canon 6D at ISO 6400 for a stitch of 9 exposures, each 30 seconds. Stitched with PTGui. This was about 1 am May 16, just before local moonrise.