“This is Adare who just returned from Kenya,” writes Deborah French, Library Director of the TOHP Burnham Library in Essex, Massachusetts. The family captioned the photograph “So here is Cape Ann Reads with a giraffe!” What a super travel photo, and kind shout out to Cape Ann Reads and Cape Ann.
Several captivating and compassionate picture books included in the Once Upon a Contest: Selection from Cape Ann Reads travel exhibition currently on view at Cape Ann Museum focus on animal friends. Stop by to read the new books and see if you can find all the giraffe illustrations.
More Cape Ann Reads and library news: Gloucester Daily Times visits TOHP Burnham Library, Essex, Ma.
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Sunday evening, on the way home to Rockport from Danvers, I saw a deer that had been struck dead on the side of 128. It made me super sad. It also made me worry about the driver who had hit it….as that is never good either.
It also reminded me of a time a couple of years ago that Freddy, the boys, and I were driving home from New Hampshire and ended up behind a guy with his dead deer trophy strapped casually to the back of his Jeep like it was a Thule or a bike rack. Previously, I had only seen deer under tarps or in the back of pick-up trucks. Never ever plain as day on the back of a car, in the middle lane of a large highway. I’m not sure why it struck me as so out of the norm, but it did.
Please allow me stop here for a moment and say that I understand hunting and realize that there are merits to it for population control and certainly out of a necessity to feed a family. As a sport, simply for fun, I still don’t have to like it. This post is not intended to start a hot debate about whether it is OK or not….it is simply to retell a story. So, I’m not going to go all “anti-hunting” on you….that being said, don’t feel the need to go all “pro-hunting” on me. I should add that I just finished reading one of my favorite books ever, My Side of the Mountain, to my students….in which young Sam Gribley hunts and kills many deer and an abundance of other animals to survive in the woods. I should mention too that I am the proud owner of two German Shorthaired Pointers, and, while our “bird dogs” don’t hunt, I enjoy hearing stories about their “friends” who do. It seems hypocritical for me to say “it’s ok to shoot a turkey, a pheasant, or a quail, but not a deer” so I don’t.
I’ve also been on sport-fishing boats and have caught tuna, mahi-mahi, and marlin, and have felt super sad as the color drained from their previously gorgeous bodies. It seems hypocritical for me to say “it’s ok to catch large fish, but not a deer” so I don’t. A dear friend of mine (no pun intended) who passed away a couple of years ago, was an avid hunter and we agreed to disagree on the subject. He teased me relentlessly about his “Gut Deer” (as in Got Milk) sticker on the back of his truck.
I also remember being at an airport in Africa with my camera gear all ready to “shoot” the Big 5 in Namibia and Botswana and standing behind people fully loaded with giant guns all ready to shoot some of those very same magnificent creatures. Again….I’m sure there are valid arguments for that….but, I don’t have to like it. And, in the case of large African mammals, I really don’t like it.
But, I digress….big time.
Back to the deer on the Jeep.
My concern upon seeing the deer was mostly that I didn’t want my boys to see it. They were maybe two and four at the time. My husband slowed down a bit and changed lanes so that it wasn’t as easy to spy. At the same moment, a little teeny car came flying by us, with an even teenier driver blaring her horn, screaming, and waving her middle finger wildly at the driver of the Jeep. She was so incredibly upset and passionate. I remember being proud of her….but yet, oddly, feeling bad for the hunter too. Her anger was so deep and….dare I say, mean. That sounds crazy, right? Me calling her mean for her rage against the hunter. It seemed like such a personal attack. She was so emotional and enraged. I remember feeling kind of confused by the whole encounter. It bothered me for days, but I couldn’t put my finger on why.
To go back to Africa…. I was confused in the same way that I felt on Day #3 of safari, when I found myself rooting for the cheetah to catch and kill the impala because I knew there were babies to feed. Days #1 and #2 I was cheering for the prey…not the predator… but, that changed upon seeing the hungry little ones. Surely the impala had hungry little ones too? Knowing who to root for was hard…so I opted to not align myself with either side of the hunt, but to simply watch it unfold…sometimes through the tiny cracks between my fingers that were covering my eyes.
So, all this had been spinning in my head as I thought, “Blog worthy or not?” and then I sat on the couch and saw a video of a deer attacking a hunter that a friend had put on Facebook…. and I laughed…. and then I felt really bad for the hunter. Full circle.
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The Opening of the Out of Africa exhibit of photography and paintings by Judith Monteferrante, Rich Seeley and Roger Salisbury was a big hit, and an amazing grand finale guest artists exhibit opening for the first season of Khan Studio and the Good Morning Gloucester Gallery on Rocky Neck. We have never had so many people packed inside and waiting outside the Gallery for an event this season – and we’ve had many very well attended events. A gallery talk was scheduled for 6:00 pm, but the crowd was so thick that it was impossible for the artists to even consider giving a talk. Neighbors watching the flow of people in and out, estimated visitors throughout the evening at between 150 and 200 people. Kudos to the Gloucester Daily Times for putting the opening info on the front page of Saturday’s paper, as many people who came said they had learned about it from the Times. For those of you who wanted to see the exhibit but couldn’t make it to the opening, or those who came but couldn’t see the work because of all the people, the show will be up through October 6, so please come back and see the exhibit daily from noon to 8:00 pm. There are also videos of the animals and a digital frame with a slideshow of many of the photos taken but not physically exhibited in the gallery. This exhibit is truly a great adventure, an African safari that you can vicariously experience through these artists’ work. Don’t miss it.