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I collect snapshots in my “Pictures” folder on my laptop. They are images that caught my fancy at one time. I’m going to drop the latest into this post for you.
I had a very hard time photographing the ants, and will have to set up my tripod to do it properly one of these days. Sadly, the photos above are blurry because I was holding the camera in my hands. So here’s the deal: at the end of the branch of this fruit tree hangs the hummingbird feeder. The ants come from somewhere in the yard, up the trunk, aaaaalll the way out to the end of the branch, and down to the red plastic flowers with syrup in the center. They load up with juice, and haul the load back to the rest of the ants. I have stood, I can’t tell you how many hours, gazing in fascination at this never-ending train of ants. There are small black ants speeding out toward the end of the branch, and fat copper ants carefully placing their feet and methodically heading back toward the trunk of the tree. If the sun is setting, it shines right through their abdomen and lights it like a tiny amber bulb.
I captured this one from the window of the bus as I headed home one evening. I love the scene of the little flexible guy in his Taekwondo clothes.
We heard recently that the carpet is going to be replaced at the Portland airport. The local airport is a place packed full of memories for us, but the sense of place seems to be more striking for her. She exclaimed that it will be a loss not to walk into the airport from some plane, after having been in multiple airports, and knowing she’s home by the pattern of the carpet. My girl finds comfort in the Portland airport carpet; what a thought. Well, it makes sense for this traveling child. She has been flying around the country and around the world since she was an infant, and this has been HER airport for 10 years now, which is more than half her life. So we got a photo of Miss T and her comforting carpet.
It has been a year and four months since I returned from Japan. Sometimes I can’t believe it was so long ago, and sometimes it seems like it was only yesterday and I’m looking forward to talking with Norm, Kaori, Phil or Yasmeen, next time I’m in Sasebo. Then I shake my head and remind myself that I’m long gone. On the days when Japan has almost vanished from my thoughts, I come across some random Japanese thing that is instantly both familiar and foreign. In my pantry I still have the powdered sugar bag that Tara and I found at a grocery store in Iwakuni, and in my filing cabinet is one of the many flat rounded fans that everyone carried, with a map of the west shore of Honshu on it. The other day, bored with tea and coffee, I spotted this packet and added it to hot water. A delicious orange drink with orange peel in it.
My boy- friend Arno is raising two teenage boys. Can I state the obvious? Boys are different than girls. At their house I must get used to the implements of battle in every circumstance and conversation. We discuss the value of fabrics in German military uniforms vs. Russian uniforms. I am entreated to admire the latest model airplane, or ship, or helicopter, or tank, or sub. Once I was treated to an entire Vietnam jungle scene with palm trees and soldiers dressed in green, made out of Legos for a high school project. There are the latest and greatest airsoft rifles (plastic beebees ALL over their house), homemade handgun replicas, and target practice in the backyard with bow and arrows. And always, always there is the excitement over the latest eBay acquisition: throwing stars, knives, goggles, helmets, leather ammo pouches, oxygen masks for high altitude pilots. It’s hard for me to absorb. I’m getting better. I can’t help but sometimes wish the oldest would actually enlist and experience the military, and see that it’s not as romantic and heroic as he is convinced it is. Where does this war-worship come from? It’s not a particular thing to the teens in my life: it’s common to boys for time immemorial. I just don’t get it. But then…on an anthropological level, I do get it. Being warlike has kept the human race alive. Our pre-historic ancestors had to perfect this characteristic, and a couple thousand years of advanced civilization is definitely not enough to wipe it out. (A concept perfectly elucidated in Charles L. Mee’s play Big Love)
Tara burst into the house Friday night overflowing with emotion and relieved anxiety and a fried brain. She announced to me, frowning and fierce, “I am going to take over the kitchen, make cupcakes and then eat them! I am not going to do anything else and you can’t make me!” It had been the last day of final exams, and she was exhausted mentally, which is so grueling after two weeks of hardcore schoolwork. Arno whined, “How come my boys don’t make cupcakes when they need to let off steam?” After leaving her alone for awhile, she called out to me, “Mom? How do you make fondant?” Heck, I didn’t even know what fondant was, so I was no help. Still banned from the kitchen, I left her alone to figure it out. By dinnertime, there were cupcakes with fondant roses. I am in awe.
She’s in two art classes this year, which balances out her other classes, like Pre-Calc and AP Environmental Science. She made the poster above for me, which is now hanging in my home office. Hil-air-ious. We both love the Hitchhiker’s Guide books. Too bad she couldn’t have used large, friendly letters.
Our tastes are similar, which has been fun. We’re both crazy about Disney and Pixar, and now Disney/Pixar, and studio Ghibli. And we like the same TV shows, which we discover on the Internet, because we have no TV signal to our house. She introduced me to Sherlock, with Benedict Cumberbatch, which is so great. I suppose that means I’ll have to check out Dr. Who eventually, because it’s another of her loves that I know nothing about. The previously mentioned teenage boys got her this TARDIS blanket for Christmas, and she is usually not found in the house without it. She’d take it to school with her if she thought she could make that work.
The last shots are not my own, but sent to me from a very dear and longtime friend, who is charting unexplored territory in virtual space. Vlad gets absorbed in his roleplaying games and is particularly impressed with the artistry of it. I don’t blame him: the scenes are amazing. These are from the most recent set emailed to me. I love digital artwork; for example was just awed beyond belief when I tried to play Myst. And failed to make any sense of it. I love the puzzles: Tetris, Flow, Minesweeper, Mahjong, and solitaire. I did waste a gazillion hours playing Age of Empires II, but in general, I haven’t got the right mindset for computer games. So in closing, please enjoy the snapshots from Vlad’s computer screen.
Hello, and yes, I’m still working on the Japan photobook I talked about in my last post.
I wanted to highlight this photo I took the very first time I went to Iwakuni castle. It’s on the top of the mountain ridge above Niziki River and looks far beyond the city of Iwakuni and off to the sea. This tree could very well be the highest thing around, except for the castle.
Though my 5-month job turned out to be in Japan purely by chance, I felt grateful to have a fledgling background in things Japanese through my daughter. Miss T introduced me to Japanese anime and taught herself two dozen words in the language simply by watching so many subtitled shows and listening to the native speakers and singing along with the theme songs.
She would insist sometimes that I watch with her. Sometimes I did.
She introduced me to Studio Ghibli and the incredible stories woven by Hayao Miyazaki, who directs many of the movies from that studio. One of the things that drops my jaw in wonder during his films is the use of landscape in animation. It had never occurred to me, before I became better educated, how animation can be an art form for actual art. Not just some crude figures scrawled onto a page to help tell a story, but – for example – that an animated film could pan across a wide field while wind rustles the grass in waves (this blew me away in the movie Spirited Away). I began to pay much better attention.
So, as I stood beside the castle, and turned and gazed and tried to soak up Japan, my eyes framed this animated shot and I recognized it. Not really, of course, but I recognized that the landscapes Miyazaki brings to me are not fanciful as they seemed to me before, having never seen this gorgeous country. Rather, through his work I have seen real landscapes drawn from real Japan. He (and obviously the vastly talented artists with him), can see the art in real life and make it come to life on screen. So watching his work was teaching me about Japan all along. It’s nice to know that.
Have you been wondering where I am? My blog posts have been fewer and farther apart and I have a reason: in my very little free time, I’ve been doing things other than blogging. I know. I miss you too.
My one-year anniversary of leaving Japan is almost here, and the knowledge of that has lit a fire under me to work on my photobook. Have you seen those yet? Photobooks are hardbound, full-colour, glossy books that contain your vacation photos. Or wedding photos. Or birthday party photos. Whatever you like. The software accepts as much text as you like, so you can narrate the photos. (You know I can’t resist talking about my photos.) Send all the edited software to the company on a disc, and they mail you a book in less than a week. It’s amazing.
Anyway, I did my very first photobook after our trip to Egypt, and I loved it so much I decided to do another for Japan. I started the next book while I was still in Japan, and worked diligently when I got back, around a year ago next week. I sorted and edited photos, designed and narrated page after page. I had completed about 50 pages when my computer died.
Like, totally and completely fried. I lost, not only all my photobook work, but all my photos since the last backup, which had been in July. In other words, I lost a little over two months’ worth of photos from Japan, during one of the most amazing adventures of my whole life. Can you believe the rotten luck?
I was so devastated, it took me a loooong time to mentally recover.
But I’m getting my spark back, and I have the heart to begin again, and sort through Japan photos, and edit, and begin designing pages once more. I even have a few of the photos I lost, since for some crazy reason, those are some of the only photos I decided to share on facebook.
I have not been posting much in September because I have been working on my Japan photobook. I’m up to 60 pages already! (Just the photos, not the words, which will take a long time I am sure) In case you’re thinking that 60 pages sounds like enough, well, it isn’t. I took over 2,000 photos in Japan. It’s going to take a lot more pages crammed with photos to get to all of it, even though I’m discarding most of them. (Considering this, should I be grateful that so many photos were lost then? ah, nope.)
Today I worked on my Fuji climb. You can read my blog post here if you’re interested, but if you aren’t, I’ve decided to post a couple of the photos that will go into the book.
No story today. I am beginning to go through my photos to select those to be included in my Japan photobook. I took this shot near the beginning of my time in Japan, and it remained one of my favourites all year. I just thought I’d share it with you.
This is right next to the famous Kintai Bridge in Iwakuni. With this photo, you get no sense of the press of people or of what a tourist destination it is. The river is spectacularly clear, and filled with fish. There are locals fishing all day long every day. Many with a fishing pole, many with boats like these in the photo, and a few also employ an ancient fishing method using cormorants. Yes, the birds. Cormorants have a loop around their necks and are tethered to boats. When they catch a fish, they return to the boat, where fishermen tighten the loop and the bird gives up the fish. Every so often, the birds get to keep a fish, to maintain their cooperation.
In 17 weeks I have not hit every tourist attraction, but one thing I have seen more than the average visitor sees, is scene after scene after scene of Japanese countryside, cities and towns. This post is dedicated to the indisputable beauty of the country of Japan. I am going to take this opportunity to display only train-related images. I took all these shots. Please click any photo for a larger version.
Since June I have been riding trains in this country. The small ones I call the “clickety clack” trains. And then there are express trains. There are subways. There is the deservedly world-famous Shinkansen! I’ve been on all of them. Sometimes I’m crammed in and forced to stand; sometimes I’m practically alone; sometimes I find myself on the wrong one! Often I am the only non-Japanese person around.
Every train is a potential adventure, and many trips turn out to be an actual adventure. All trains provide a seat and a window. I provide the camera.
Because they are my medium of travel, my portal to another world, the trains themselves fascinate me. The tracks that carry them. The stations where they stop.
I hope the trains and tracks and stations are not boring to you. They hold such electricity for me when I look at them; I simply can’t help myself but take more photos. My external hard drive here in my room is bursting at the seams with train photos.
I know the routes so well that once I realized I was on the wrong train because I heard the announcement in Japanese for the next stop of Tokuyama, and realized I was heading south instead of north. I know the sights so well that I noticed a photo incorrectly placed in my digital folder for Misawa. It was a photo of Hakata station, which is not on the way to Misawa.
I know there are more pines in the north of Honshu, not only because I have seen them, but I can smell them up there. There are more tunnels for the tracks in the south. From the train in southern Kyushu, I can spot fields growing grains other than rice. There are more snow-capped peaks in the north.
So that’s it for today. Just photos. I’ve been spending the weekend catching up on very late blog posts, and publishing them with the correct dates, so if you’re interested, you can scroll back the last few months and find some new gems tucked in there.
Friday afternoon, Ian and I shook off the somber mood of the Atomic Bomb Museum, and went out into Nagasaki to see what else there was. First of all, we were starving, so we had to find a place to eat. We rode the streetcar back toward the center of town. We wandered through streets for awhile, taking the time to poke into curious areas in our search for food. We found an underground market, but it turned out to sell mostly raw seafood, and we had no way of cooking it.
After eating, we went to a landmark in Nagasaki called Spectacles Bridge, because the reflections of the two arches in the water look like round spectacles. There are several beautiful stone bridges along the river in that part of town. Spectacles Bridge was built by Zen master Mokusu Nyojo, and is the oldest stone bridge in Japan.
At one point in the river, rainbows of koi fish were hovering, as if waiting to be fed by people on the shore. A few people appeared on the stone ledge beside the river, and the fish moved to them in a group, sloppy carp mouths gaping above the surface.
We saw signs pointing up a hill, so we walked along narrow streets till we saw red painted beams of a temple above rooftops, and were able to find our way to it. We had discovered Kofuku-ji, the first Obaku Zen temple in Japan, its origins dating to around 1620. Interestingly, Mokusu Nyojo was one of the masters at this temple. This was the first of a series of temples built by Chinese immigrants determined to make a grand display of their loyalty to Buddhism, so that people would be less inclined to suspect that they were Christians (since Christianity was outlawed).
Behind the temple was a cemetery that stretched far up the hill behind it. Ian and I climbed between the gravestones, through a maze of stone steps, trying to get a higher vantage point and possibly see the end of the cemetery. Hundreds of rectangular family plots are carved into the mountainside, each with its own hand-built, narrow, concrete and crumbling steps. But it truly was a maze! I would follow steps up to a dead-end, back track, try different steps to another dead end. I would spot a different path from there which seemed to lead higher, so I would go back down, try the new route, only to be stopped at another dead end. Ian was doing the same thing in a different part of the cemetery. He came down to where I stood and pointed to another section, “It looks like you have to start over there,” he said. I followed his hand, and saw that we would have to find the beginning of the trail from the other side of the temple grounds. So we hopped down all the little steps and walked through the temple grounds and buildings again, with an eye out for a way to get behind them to the path we sought. We made it all the way to the other side, but every path to the back was blocked.
Kofuku-ji closes at 5:00 pm. We discovered this when worried caretakers began stealing glances our way, and closing doors to areas we were no longer visiting. We were also feeling a little self-conscious about trying to get into a different part of the cemetery only in order to climb higher into it, and not for mourning someone’s passing or paying respect to the dead.
We wandered back toward the river, and back to the streetcar line. Ian wanted to find the observatory at Nagasaki before nightfall, so we would be able to watch the sunset from the summit.
For 1200 yen each (about $15) we purchased tickets for the tram that would take us to the observatory. We waited with a growing group of other sunset-seekers, and found vending machines to quench our thirst while we explored the shrines there. Our timing was good, and we arrived at the top while the sky was still light enough to illuminate the scene below us. A three-story circular building perches at the top of the hill, allowing viewers on the observation deck on the roof to have a clear view above the trees. We could see in every direction.
We remained at the observatory till it was completely dark, watching as lights below grew brighter. Then we rode the streetcar back to the train station, and made the long journey back to Sasebo.
My brother Ian and I agreed that Nagasaki was on our list of things to do. Friday I was free to spend the whole day out touring with Ian, so we made plans to take the train south along the western edge of Kyushu and see the famous city.
We were up early (Ian assisted by vestiges of jet lag), but we lagged in preparations because it was raining pretty hard outside. We went across the parking lot to the Harbor View Club for breakfast, but the rain continued. After some discussion, we agreed that rain or no, today was the best day to see Nagasaki.
Boy howdy, did it rain! We stopped first at the NEX (Navy Exchange) to buy umbrellas (I think I own six umbrellas now, since I kept getting caught without one). We slogged through the downpour to the train station. We bought tickets and climbed aboard absolutely soaked through.
The small train went slowly to Nagasaki. After an hour and a half we had arrived, and the weather had improved dramatically by the time we arrived. What a relief. Ian proved resourceful, and while I was still trying to think through how we should begin getting around, he found information on how to get an inexpensive day pass for the streetcars. We found maps of the city in English at the Information shop where we purchased the pass.
First stop was the atomic bomb museum. I was eager to compare this one to the one I had seen in Hiroshima. (Please see my blog post from my first visit to Hiroshima Peace Park.) Many people had told me they preferred the Nagasaki peace park/ museum complex. It is less polished than the one in Hiroshima, and for some that makes it more real.
I found myself less distraught at the complex in Nagasaki. Perhaps because I was with my brother and made an effort not to let myself get too emotional, whereas in Hiroshima I was with Tara, and we are comfortable crying together.
What struck me the most in Nagasaki was seeing how much of their Christian community had been destroyed. Of course, Nagasaki was a wonderfully diverse city at that time, and contained worshippers of multiple faiths, but before this summer I would never have guessed how many Catholics were there. I wonder how many Americans knew about this after the bomb: we hadn’t vaporized alien beings, but Christians, and sacred Catholic churches and artifacts. This realization was consistent with the little bit of Japanese history I learned this summer when I read Shusaku Endo’s compelling book, Silence, about Jesuit priests that snuck into Japan in the 17th century to minister to the faithful who had to worship in secret under penalty of death if discovered.
Information board at the museum:
The Urakami district of Nagasaki was the site of Christian missionary work from the latter part of the 16th century. The people of Urakami suffered persecution constantly from 1587 when Christianity was outlawed until 1873 when the ban was finally lifted. Over the course of 20 years, these faithful people built a church, laying one brick upon another. Their labors were rewarded in 1914 with the completion of the grandest church in East Asia. The church’s twin 26 meter high spires were completed in 1925. But the explosion of the atomic bomb blew the spires down and reduced the church to a hollow shell of rubble.
Another very compelling sight was the famous image of the man and ladder “burned” into the side of a building at the instant of the deathly bright flash of the bomb burst, and also the image similarly captured by vines on a wall. These things make it very real: the tragedy, the instantaneous destruction, the power of the bomb.
There are other things to see on location, so after the museum, we toured the Yataro Noguchi Art Museum. Works in the small museum were primarily by the named artist, but we found paintings by other artists that impressed us more than the impressionistic paintings of Noguchi.
Then we walked through the Nagasaki Museum of History and Folklore.
Finally we found the entrance to the Nagasaki National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims. The hall is underground, and the entrance is through a water sculpture that creates a reflecting pond on the surface. Water only about an inch deep covers 70,000 tiny fiber optic lights representing the 73,884 deaths attributed to the atomic bomb and the nuclear fallout.
The underground peace memorial hall was cool, modern, peaceful. It is built for prayer and reflection and remembrance. Architect Akira Kuryu did an excellent job of creating the right kind of mood down there. In the main hall atrium, there are 12 lit green pillars that soar upwards to a skylight. At one end of the row of pillars is an equally tall column holding shelves with cards, each card containing the written name of a victim. There is a book for people to write in, on a table that also holds dedications. These often consisted of folded paper cranes for peace. The paper cranes are found all over the site here in Nagasaki, as well as in Hiroshima.
Our wanderings led us up and out of the complex after that, and we wandered back into the city to look for more sights to see and hopefully some food, as well. Sadly, we did not realize that the bomb hypocenter was very close to us, though hidden behind trees. Thus we did not make our way to that final sobering memorial.
My third and final visitor was my brother, Ian. He told me that of all the places in the world he wanted to visit, Japan topped the list. I was stymied by this statement of his, having never suspected such a love for Asia in my brother. I remained curious about his declaration only until he actually showed up and I discovered what it was all about. Cars! Ian loves vehicles with a passion, and has consistently loved them since he was old enough to say “car.” In Japan, two-thirds of his photos were of cars that he can’t see in the states.
I had to work during the weekdays, so our exploration was in the evening. Norm told us about a free shuttle bus that left from the train station and went to a hotel on the top of the hill looking out over Sasebo. The shuttle ran into the evening hours.
Ian and I walked from base to the train station, and were pleased to see Norm and his wife, Kiyomi, waiting for the same shuttle. They were having a business meeting over dinner at the Yumihari no Oka hotel restaurant. The shuttle stop is out on the street and marked only with a small metal sign, so their presence was reassuring to us that we had found the right place.
The bus took us on this fabulous narrow and winding road up the side of the mountain. I haven’t mentioned yet that in Japan, there are often two-way streets that are only wide enough to accommodate one vehicle. Motorists must always be ready for oncoming traffic, and be prepared to avoid a head on collision by pulling off to the side into a wide spot. The road up to the hotel was one such narrow road. The driver was obviously comfortable with his route, and powered up the steep slopes, zoomed around curves, turned the wheel to the left, the right, the left, braked, stepped on the gas and wound deftly between houses built right up to the edge of the paved road. The ride itself was part of the adventure!
At the hotel, Kiyomi explained to the extremely gracious attendants that we were there to take photos, and though we were not customers, they led us to a lovely balcony off the dining room. From there we had a stunning sunset view of the Sasebo Navy Base directly below us to the south, and of the 99 Islands (Kujukushima) to the west.
When we were done taking advantage of our hosts’ incredible balcony, they told us there was an observatory at the top of the mountain. Observatory turns out to mean, in Japan, a viewpoint.
We walked a short distance up to Saikai National Park where we were treated to a stunning 270 degree view of the city and ocean below. There is a nicely developed area with paths, information signs, and a roof. Over the western ledge, a wooden walking bridge out to another observation platform, led us to a wide vista. From there we could see the Kujukushima Islands that stretch out into the sea into a postcard-perfect scene. My camera was kind enough to lighten up the shot for me, pulling most available light into its lens and making the islands easier to see in the photos than was possible with our eyes.
After visiting Maneki Neko, the Cat Café, Tara and I hopped back on the little local train to head south again. We got off at Miyajimaguchi Station, in hopes of finding our way to Miyajima Island. I had been told it was easy to find the ferry boat. That turned out to be true: we spotted the ferry while still inside the train station. So, we bought tickets for the ferry at a vending machine nearby. (All tickets can be purchased at a vending machine. Indeed, sometimes it’s the only option. Luckily, they are pretty easy to figure out. Luckier still, when I guess wrong, there is nearly always a forgiving official who can get it straightened out for me.)
The ferry ride was cool, breezy, relaxing. A welcome respite from the stifling July heat and humidity. Tara and I brought umbrellas for shade, but there is no way to escape the brutal weather of a Japanese summer.
Soon we spotted the huge red torii in the waters of Miyajima island, which is just offshore and a bit south of Hiroshima. The island is famous for its shrines, and the primary one is Itsukushima Shrine, for which this torii is the gate, or spiritual entrance. If you’ve only seen one photo of a giant red torii in Japan, it was probably this one. From the ferry, the famous torii of Itsukushima Shrine is quite noticeable, and drew my eye as we drew closer and closer.
This island is also famous for its deer. I had seen deer at the base of Mt. Fuji, but I don’t typically see wildlife here except birds, insects, crabs, frogs, fish, and lizards. These are a species of Sika deer, which do not lose their spots in adulthood. The deer were apparently sacred here at some point in the past, likely because a Shinto Buddhist belief is that deer are the messengers of the gods. However, they are currently considered a nuisance by local residents and Japanese officials.
After quick research, I cannot find when the ban on feeding went into effect, prohibiting people from feeding the deer. Until the ban, food for the deer was sold to visitors, and the large population of the deer was due to total dependence upon tourists. I found an unreliable resource that stated it was in 2007. I found a “please sign our save the deer petition” and the first signatures were dated 2002. PETA apparently became involved in 2008. Travel guides mention the issue in 2010.
The most official resource I could find is this publication from the Hatsukaichi City website with a city plan for fiscal years 2009-2013 (Heisei 21-25) to deal with the deer. Disturbingly, one claim in this document is the intent to build a facility to “rescue unhealthy deer.” It’s disturbing because the city officials of Hatsukaichi are confessing that they should be responsible for detecting and treating unhealthy deer, but in 2012 I stood there on the island and witnessed many starving, deformed deer with skin diseases.
Before you make any assumptions, please know that I am no vegan tree-hugger. I grew up eating deer and learning how to shoot them. I’m merely pointing out some shockingly poor resource management. And I’m not bashing Japan. There are cases in the U.S. where local deer populations exploded when deer became reliant on food provided by people. It’s a terrible mix: people food and wild animals. And most tourists are too dumb to see the problem, as they gleefully feed cold french fries and paper ice cream wrappers to the deer, then post their videos on YouTube.
I’m glad the Internet references to this issue become more common recently. Perhaps it means that local people will be pressured into coming up with a more effective plan. What that plan would be, I can’t guess. I saw no vegetation around for the deer to eat, but maybe there is some tucked away in the hills. I suspect if there was another option besides begging from tourists, the deer would choose to eat grass instead of starve to death.
Sorry about this depressing post. I intended to write about the beauty of the shrines, the photogenic torii (what’s plural for torii? toriii?), my lovely daughter sharing Japan with me, and of course, the agony of the abominable damp thickness of the furnace we had to endure day after day… oh. I mean, the weather.
But you know, as cool as the sights were, as impressive the shrines, as fun as the ferry rides were, the deer made it depressing. Tara and I didn’t really talk about it, but it was the elephant in the room. The deer themselves reminded us how unfortunate they were, every couple of minutes, as they hovered nearby and followed the movements of our hands hopefully, as though they might contain food. I was so disappointed not to have been alerted to bring food ahead of time.
At one point, a woman showed up with some kind of food. It looked like rabbit pellets mixed with powdered chicken feed. She spread it all over the ground and deer showed up in herds to eat it. But a lot of the powder was wasted when it got mixed into the sand. I watched two rear up on hind legs and bash each other with their hooves, fighting over the powdered food in the sand.