We went to Mt. Auburn looking for birds and beasts. In the past, we’ve seen rabbits, ground hogs, foxes, hawks, and robins, but we had a few surprises this time. This is a lovely catbird. I’m afraid you can’t quite distinguish his/her black cap. We have at least one who lives near our house and is rather friendly, visiting the bird feeders, sipping from the bird baths and fish pond, and plucking up multi-legged critters from the ground. We also saw tons of robins. I wanted to include this picture for my British viewers. Your robins are adorable, petite, and feathered lovely blue and rust. Ours, as you can see, are longer and larger, with a grey/black body and striking rusty-red tummy. Their faces and build are similar to your blackbirds, though yours are really black. I heard that your robins were struggling. How are they doing now?
Here was a nice surprise! Down by one of the ponds, we found quite a few painted turtles sunning themselves. Look at this guy stretch his hind legs. Seems comfy, doesn’t he/she. Meanwhile, in the pond, a baby was swimming around like crazy, having a ball. maybe this guy on the shore was a watchful parent?
We really had a surprise when we saw and were able to follow a Great Blue Heron around the cemetery. We expected to see him wading in one of the ponds. That’s how we usually see them, but not this guy. He just took himself on the most casual of strolls, looking around, chilling out. maybe he was looking for a friend?
Heading back to our car we got the biggest of surprises! A flock of about 8 or 9 wild turkeys! Notice the “beards” hanging from some of the birds. I’d never noticed that before.
I talked to a woman who was planting some flowers at a relative’s grade, and she told me the turkeys were making her nervous. Apparently, a turkey had gotten too aggressive with one of the workers in the cemetery last week, with things had not going well for the turkey. I have heard that these wild bird can be exceptionally bold. These guys didn’t bother us, but then, again, we didn’t bother them, either. I prevented Yang from mentioning either dreaded trigger word: Thanksgiving or drumstick.
So, the last work we’re covering for my Romantic and Victorian Gothic course is Dracula, on December 2nd. For “educational” purposes, I’m going to post some pictures that Yang and I took on our visits to England in 2013 and 2015. The first trip was a kind of “English major’s dream.” We visited Tintern Abbey, the Lake Country, Haworth and Whitby in Yorkshire, and in London St. Pancras Cemetery, Samuel Johnson’s House, Highgate Cemetery, and other neat places. So, let’s start with images from Whitby that correspond to events in Dracula.
Here is a shot of the cemetery for the Church of St. Mary’s, overlooking the harbor. You can even see a few graves that might have been the very ones that Mina and Lucy sat upon – where Lucy was attacked by the evil Count and where he hid out during the day.
Here are some of the views of the harbor that the young gals would have see from their spot – or Dracula if he peeked through the cracks of his sepulcher hideyhole. Note the man-made breakwater with its lighthouse, described in the novel.
The brilliant roofs on the houses perhaps inspired Stoker’s emphasis of red predominating his descriptions of the town.
The other arm of the harbor stretches mightily outward. You can see the depth of the harbor just by noting the height of the opposite cliff.
You get the same impression looking at the abbey and St. Mary’s from the heights above the beach and the concert pavilion.
Mina must have lied. She could never have run up these stairs in her bare feet. The girl must have had her New Balance sneakers on – and collapsed when she got to the top!
The other Dracula portion of my tour was at Highgate Cemetery. There are actually two sides to the cemetery. One is called the Old Highgate and the other the New. They’re both pretty old, but Yang and I figure that the encounters with Lucy’s Undead self probably occurred in New Highgate, since she would have been buried in 1897. We weren’t there in the middle of the night; that’s frowned on. So, our pictures are all in daylight – they wouldn’t have looked too good with only flash light, anyway. Still, these pics definitely capture the eeriness – especially if you are a Dr. Who fan. Don’t blink!
The graves are closely crowded, so you can imagine how easy Dr.Van Helsing and the boys would have had it finding a place to hide and peek at the vampires. I don’t know how overgrown the landscape would have been about 120 years ago, though.
And my husband said hello to one of the more fiery of the Marx Brothers, Karl. I guess Van Helsing and Co. were in too much of a rush to pay any literary/political social calls.
To end on an adorable note, enjoy the English Robin on the tomb stone, though you might have to click on the picture and enlarge it to see him/her.
Or this fox, who is way too adorable to fall under Dracula’s evil sway.