Saturday, September 23, 2006

River Otters

Today, Alice lost an auction on EBay for a tiny bronze sculpture of two river otters. I sat on the floor and began eating a Greenie during that procedure. I could have told her through dog ESP that someone in Spain wanted it more than she did. I then tried to tell her the original otters which inspired the artist were actually more important. She seemed to have gotten the message and downloaded a copy of the "lost" sculpture.
Real otters.... She got on this otter idea after she saw for the first time real live river otters on San Juan Island in Washington state last July. At sunset, a pair, most likely bachelors, came up on a dock as she watched with her friend, Leslie. The pair bounced around, shaking water off themselves many times nose-to-back-to-tail just like I do. They smelled and deposited on their favorite spraint sites at cleats where a boat is tied up. Groomed each other, nuzzed each other. Talking and laughing, scratching their backs on the dock planks and the finally, after a long look at the sunset together standing on their hind legs with their backs to Leslie and Alice, one of them sniffed over its shoulder at the two ladies, and then they slipped into the water to finish their evening patrol before cosy-ing into their den on the shore. I'm sure the sculptor of these bronze otters saw two real ones playing together. Long ago in Vienna. Perhaps at the local zoo or maybe at a nearby river. His name was Bergman, but he signed his pieces "Namgreb". I'm sure he liked animals. He obviously worked from live ones, not dead pelts. Lifelike and very charming. But not as lifelike as a real memory of live otters. Or of me, sitting below her now finishing that Greenie.