Angus of the Chukar Hills

"Angus of the Chukar Hills" by Rachel Teannalach
“Angus of the Chukar Hills” by Rachel Teannalach

When the season consumes you, you don’t worry about much else. When it’s over, you worry about everything else. Filling up that worry with good things to carry it away like water helps. Yesterday was one of those good days between seasons. We collected a painting we commissioned and hung it up. It is working already.

We’d admired Rachel Teannalach‘s work for quite a while. Her eye for light and spirit in landscapes resonated with us. We lucked into taking her for a hike into one of our favorite spots, and she got to work, after we subjected her to what seemed like thousands of “favorite” photos of Angus in Hell’s Canyon.

Not being a painter, I’d never studied her work closely, but having this on our wall now gives me the chance to see, maybe, what good painters see and translate through and onto their media and make into spirit and feeling.

Detail: Brownlee Reservoir
Detail: Brownlee Reservoir
Detail: Angus pointing
Detail: Angus pointing

Only connect. Yesterday my teacher Bruce Gandy won a major bagpipe competition. A year or so ago, after watching a video I’d made about connecting things (one of which was chukar hunting with Angus), he thought he’d found the subject title to one of his piobaireachd compositions. “Salute to Angus of the Chukar Hills” was title he settled on. Having two works of art in sight and sound is good. What’s best for me is the connection between people and animals and landscapes and sounds that make me feel connected.

Yesterday, we picked a puppy brother for Angus. Peat’ll be ready to come home in a few weeks (more on that later). We also went to a track meet and watched some of my students run well. Bruce won a major competition. We got a gorgeous painting. Ripples in water, crossing each other, making me smile inside, washing away worry.

3 Replies to “Angus of the Chukar Hills”

  1. For true hunters there are only two seasons. Hunting season and the season for getting ready for hunting season. Nothing else counts. There are no other seasons. Terms like spring and summer are for gardeners.

    Nice painting. I know how you feel about having a new painting in the house. I just bought a oil of the Main Beach Tower as it was back in the 1950’s. I like it a lot and it brings back many fond memories every time I look at it.

    Here is one of many stories I have about Main Beach.

    Not on My Watch

    By Dale Ghere

    March 18, 2006

    It was a perfect beach day for guarding. There was no wind, the water was warm and clear, the surf was small, there was not a cloud in the sky and the beach was not overly crowded. It was the kind of day you have to find things to look at to keep yourself focused. This kind of day can lull a lifeguard into thinking that he really doesn’t need to watch as hard as on a day when the surf is red flag. What can go wrong on a day that is so calm and nice?

    I was walking between towers on the Main Beach because I was supervising the Rookies. The sun was at the perfect angle for looking through the face of the waves. The water was so clear I could see objects in the sand under the waves. I had just stopped at the top of the berm to watch a school of corvina working a small rip in search of sand crabs that had been exposed by the previous wave when she walked past me. I had been contemplating whether or not I should go for a dive after work. Just then a young girl, wearing street clothes, in her twenties, walked past me and headed for the water. Now this girl was interrupting my train of thought. Who was she and what was she doing here? It really was not all that unusual for people to come to the beach with street clothes on and then walk into the water, but this girl was well dressed. She had her purse and high heels in her hands. she was obviously going to get in the water.

    Just before she reached the wet sand she gently placed her purse and shoes in the sand. Then she continued to walk towards the water. I expected her to turn around or to stop in shallow water. No, she continued walking into deeper water. First her knees got wet, then her skirt and then she was in deep enough to get her blouse wet. The surf was so small she could walk beyond the waves. Then it looked like she sat down.

    What was she up to? I had seen guys jump in the water with jeans on, but I had never seen a girl with a skirt and a blouse on go for a swim. As I stood there I was curious to see what her next move would be. Would she go for a swim, would she come up and stand there or would she walk back to the beach and leave as quietly as she came – only wet?

    She didn’t do anything. It took a moment or two for me to realize she wasn’t coming back up. Now I wasn’t curious, I was anxious. Who was she and what was she doing? These were questions I asked myself with a big exclamation mark. Then I spotted her through the face of a wave. She was lying on the bottom. The only motion appeared to be caused by the ebb and flow of the waves. Even then I could not believe what I was watching. I just stood there as she drifted back and forth on the bottom. This could not be happening. My first thought was, “No one would walk into the water and drown themselves at Main Beach in the middle of the day. Maybe she can just hold her breath longer than normal.” No, it was time to act!

    I ran into the water and grabbed her. As I ran back to the beach I jostled her hard to try to stimulate her to breathe. Nothing! A crowd quickly formed around us as I placed her in the sand and gave her a breath of air. I was relieved to see her begin to gasp for air after the second breath. She was going to make it! Then she stopped breathing. I repeated mouth to mouth resuscitation and once again she began to breathe on her own. This time she started to move and then she wanted to get up. I told her to stay down and that we would have help right away. She started to roll away from me and to get up on her knees. As I repeated my instructions I put my hand on her shoulder to restrain her.

    I didn’t see it coming; it was something that no one had ever discussed in training. How can you prepare for something you have never thought about? All I remember hearing was the word “Bastard” and then I blacked out. One minute I was happy I had just saved this girl’s life, the next I was trying to get her to stay down and then I was falling into a great abyss of darkness. As she had gotten to her knees she had turned and taken a full swing. She hit me on the side of my head with her fist. I was out and falling backwards. I must have woken up as soon as I hit the sand because as I was regaining my senses the girl tried to stand. She immediately fainted and once again stopped breathing. There I was back to giving this girl respiration, the one who had just knocked me out. The next time she started to breathe I would be ready. No more getting up and no more free swings. No more being a nice guy. Fortunately the ambulance arrived as she was regaining her senses. We strapped her on the gurney and headed for South Coast Hospital.

    A lot of screaming went on while we were in the ambulance. Most of it revolved around her saying, “You had no right……..” and me countering with admonitions to stay calm and “It’s my job.” When we got to the hospital she continued shouting a lot of things at the nurses and doctors. She eventually said, “You can’t keep me here!” She then jumped off the bed, grabbed her purse and shoes and ran out of the hospital. The only things she left behind was some beach sand and a puddle of salt water.

    When I got back to the beach there was talk that she had been in loud argument with a guy somewhere on Ocean Ave. No one knew who she was or where she had come from. The mystery lady just disappeared.

    I think this story took place in 1969. I am not sure. The actual date is not important because it could have happened anytime. Fortunately she didn’t die on my watch.

Chirp away

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