Westerns Whales and Oceans blog

If you can’t say anything nice…Here are two book reviews you’ll love if you’re into hiking and adventure…or not.

I love rocks and am constantly stealing them, by the way. Although, in my defense I’ll just say that before I take one I always ask (silently) if the rock wants to go with me or not. Sometimes I get a strong feeling that the rock expresses NO.

It’s been difficult to blog lately. There is so much negativity floating around on television, talk radio, and on the web that it’s hard to remain “unpolitical.” I’m a small publisher -not a big politician.

So, we won’t talk about the “China Virus”, vaccines, boosters or mandates. We won’t talk about the government or any decisions that come out of Washington. We won’t talk about the rampant crime…or my extremely high cholesterol that I am ignoring. So the following should be uplifting…

I definitely enjoy promoting my authors and haven’t done so for a long spell. So over the course of the next few months I’ll be introducing readers to some amazing, interesting, unique people. I’m excited to start on this brag-a-thon!

However, before I launch my authors I do want to mention another author…one I didn’t publish, but one that I have found to be so inspiring that I’ve now read two of his books and have started a third.

Meet Colin Fletcher, author of many unbelievable adventures! The first book of his that I read was The Man Who Walked Through Time, and it was an incredible account of Colin’s walk from one end of the Grand Canyon Park to the other…279 miles…alone. He was the first person to do this, and for all I know the last to do so. I have to say that a big takeaway is that this book made me wish I had majored in Geology. I love rocks and am constantly stealing them, by the way. Although, in my defense I’ll just say that before I take one I always ask (silently) if the rock wants to go with me or not. Sometimes I get a strong feeling that the rock expresses NO. Other times it’s willing to go with me. Rocks actually are alive, by the way…they have cells. Slow moving ones. Anyway, Colin’s knowledge of the geography and the millions of years it took for the formation of the canyon is incredible. It was almost impossible for me to really grasp the time …we’re talking millions upon millions and more millions of years.

Hiking in windy Wickenburg Arizona

The last pages of the book brought it all together. He’d completed the journey, but what was the point of it all? What he said was absolutely perfect…that’s the best I can say. It was stunning.

The second book was The Thousand Mile Summer, and this journey actually took place before the canyon trek. Colin walked from Mexico to the Oregon border long before there was a Pacific Crest Trail, and long before that eastern part of California was developed the way it is today. His journey was fascinating and it was one that I felt was doable…that is if I wanted to carry a heavy pack and sleep on the ground. Which I don’t want to. I’d surely try it if someone would carry my pack and there were bed and breakfast places along the way. Nevertheless, the book was very inspiring and I do intend on doing much more hiking! Fletcher has a keen, artistic knack for describing everything, and it seems he is always in the NOW. He is incredibly observant and always PRESENT. I’m jealous of this! I need to get my brains to shut-up and stop wandering about.

I recently started The Secret Worlds of Colin Fletcher but left it in Arizona when we departed for Anacortes. I’ll get back to it when we return in two weeks. I hope to snowshoe a great deal of that distance…well, maybe a few miles.

Hiking in Anacortes, WA

The Rights of Nature – A Global Movement We Can All Join

In the U.S., the Ridgway town council in Colorado has approved a resolution to recognize the rights of the Uncompahgre River.

The movement of the Rights of Nature is gaining momentum! The following information is from GARN’s recent newsletter (Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature). In addition to the victory of nature in Los Cedros in Ecuador, there is growing action around the world.

“On Antarctica Day, Dec 1st, a webinar was held to share a draft Declaration for the Rights of Antarctica, with plans to launch the final Declaration on Earth Day, 22 April 2022, for the adoption by States and International Organizations.”

And from Belgium comes this news:

Belgium, the first to demand recognition of the crime of ecocide
­The resolution was adopted in the plenary with the aim to recognize the crime of ecocide in international criminal law. The Belgian Parliament becomes the first in Europe to ask for such recognition.
Photo by NRDC.ORG

Both Ireland and the U.S. are on the bandwagon too:

Rights of Nature recognition in local councils in US and Ireland 
­In the US, the Ridgway town council in Colorado has approved a resolution to recognize the rights of the Uncompahgre River. Meanwhile, Donegal County Council is the first local authority in Ireland to consider a Rights of Nature motion.

And in Spain, young people are taking the lead:

Young people in Spain unite to recognize the rights of Mar Menor
­Young people from all over Spain are taking a petition to recognize the rights of Mar Menor to the Congress. More than 639,000 thousand signatures have been presented.

The Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition in Seattle, Washington, a favorite organization, is a “local” example of protecting the rights of nature, in this case the wild salmon of the Pacific Northwest. Led by Joseph Bogaard, this coalition has worked endlessly to preserve the wild salmon runs that are all but extinguished due to dams along the Lower Snake River and Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River in Oregon. (I need to add that Washington State has been taking dams down and seeing a great return of fish to the rivers.)

Over-fishing has contributed to the salmon depletion also. Remember that these salmon embark on a four-year journey around the Pacific Ocean when they leave the river of their birth. It is well-known that Asian fisheries using nets take everything they encounter. In addition, some people blame global warming with the resultant warming rivers as a contributing cause for their depletion. Few want to admit, however, that the proliferation of seals has taken its toll also. And without salmon, the treasured Southern Resident Pod of Orcas will likely die off.

Want to learn more? Go to youtube and see the 50 minute film:

The Rights of Nature: A Global Movement – Feature Documentary

Keep in mind that if nature dies, we all die. If we die, nature will flourish. So who needs who?

The Rights of Nature Needs Us. Act Now.

Without Nature, quite frankly, we wouldn’t last very long. Without us, however, Nature would flourish.

Congratulations to the tiny country of Ecuador, the only country in the world that has formally adopted the Rights of Nature into their constitution. Although there are other nations that honor the Rights of Nature…usually when it’s convenient…Ecuador stands alone as the only country that has stood by their decision

So, what exactly do we mean by the Rights of Nature? I think most people probably have a good idea, but there is some confusion too. Personally I think of the Rights of Nature as respect for creatures and the natural world. We should not behave as if nature is there for our exclusive use and disposal. We should never destroy the natural world for economic advancement or personal egocentric wants.

But a good example of the Rights of Nature is the most recent decision made by the Ecuadorian court, as reported by GARN (Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature).

“In an unprecedented case, the Constitutional Court of Ecuador used the constitutional provision on the “Rights of Nature” to safeguard Los Cedros protected forest from mining concessions. The Court voted 7 in favor and 2 abstentions. With the ruling, the Constitutional Court has created groundbreaking jurisprudence in which the Rights of Nature – the right to a healthy environment, the right to water, and environmental consultation – must be respected. The court decided that activities that threaten the Rights of Nature should not be carried out within the Los Cedros Protected Forest ecosystem, which includes mining and all types of extractive activities. Water and environmental permits to mining companies must also be denied.”

GARN is an organization that I’ve written about before. Anyone can join GARN. Their website is garn.org.

There are actually seven countries that legally recognize the rights of nature, and surprisingly the United States is one of them (although that can be pretty hard to believe, I do think we are doing better.) For example, CELDF (Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund) is an organization that is extremely helpful in helping communities press lawsuits against invading corporate pillagers and other organizations wanting to do environmental damage that local communities object to.

Bristol Bay must be preserved. Mining and drilling do not belong here.

The NRDC (Nature Resource Defense Council) is an organization that takes offensive companies and their pending plans to court to stop projects that are destructive to the environment. A recent example is their stopping the hideous plan to do intensive mining in the pristine Bristol Bay in Alaska. Bristol Bay is one of the most pristine, natural wildlife/seal life areas in the world. Of course, the Canadian company wanting the property is filing yet more suits.

Oil spills have destroyed millions of fish, animals and habitat

The very latest endeavor NRDC has undertaken is to stop the dangerous 1,000,000 acres of offshore drilling oil and gas lease sales in Alaska by the Biden administration. Oil spills in Alaska have killed millions of fish, whales and other creatures and destroyed entire ecosystems needed for survival. I’m not sure how leasing a million acres of Alaska coastal waters for oil drilling supports this administrations preaching about “climate change.”

We have one earth…our home. We have treated animals and the environment as though they are under our dominion and rule. We have too often shamefully and wantonly waged war on nature’s resources without a thought of the devastation often caused. Nature has every right to exist on this planet equal to the rights of people…Without nature, quite frankly, we wouldn’t last very long. Without us, however, Nature would flourish.

Want a free copy of this book? The first five people to contact me will receive a free copy. (U.S. address only)

Moonlight Mesa Publisher Returns

I’m energized. I’m back!

In answer to the few individuals who’ve contacted me asking whether or not Moonlight Mesa is still in business, I’m happy to say that after an extended absence, I have finally returned – physically and mentally. I’m ready for business again. I basically took a two year sabbatical from publishing/marketing, I guess you could say. In my absence, I did earn my Marine Naturalist Certification, and I worked as a docent at the Friday Harbor Whale Museum! Two very important long-time goals I’ve had.

Moonlight Mesa Associates, Inc., a tiny, independent publishing company was formed in 2010 and has published a remarkable number of award-winning titles including J.R. Sanders’ two titles (Some Gave All  and The Littlest Wrangler), Robert Walton’s Dawn Drums, Lee Anderson’s Developing the Art of Equine Communication and The View from My Old Saddle. And a few of my own books, Life Was a Cabaret, Sam’s Desert Adventure, and Northern Escape took awards. Several other published titles received Honorable Mentions.

So what exactly was I doing the last two years? Although I did vaguely blog about these things, I’ll briefly answer the question. Both my husband and I survived Covid, although I was truly terrified about his case which turned to Covid pneumonia. Then we moved…and moved again. We left Arizona with the intent of relocating back to the Northwest, but you know, after a couple of months there I told my husband that I just couldn’t live there full time. Honestly, the area is splendid, but I just couldn’t commit.

I bought a teensy, tiny house in Arizona and a bigger boat to keep in Anacortes. We plan on spending more time on the water traveling – Alaska is on the menu for summer of 2022. We just decided to have more adventure while we still can.

As for Moonlight Mesa’s business…I’ve already done one small event since our return  in mid October, and I’ll be doing another event December 3. I very sincerely doubt I’ll do multi-day events again. Quite frankly, I did that for 8 years and it absolutely wore me out. I liked the short event I just did…I sold plenty of books and wasn’t exhausted and crabby when I closed.”

Funds earned from Saving Our Oceans are donated to the Save Our Wild Salmon Coalition and to the Friday Harbor Whale Museum

I’m formulating a plan for the summer of 2022 for when we’re traveling. I plan on being an ‘ambassador’ for Saving Our Oceans.  I’ll be taking many copies with me, and I’ll primarily donate these copies and do presentations. I’m not worried about book sales as I know other titles will sell as a result.  I’ll have advertising material for all the titles. It’ll work. I’ve done this before and it was very successful.”

I’m energized. I’m back!

Rampageous Abuse of Animals

Ask yourself: would you prefer to be boiled alive or be dead first before being tossed in the pot.

The Rights of Nature must be acknowledged – It’s not that complicated

Just when I started believing that animals were no longer being used for medical and military experiments, I was shocked to find that 75 pharmaceutical companies are currently using animals to test various Covid 19 medications/vaccines. SEVENTY-FIVE, and that’s the ones we know about. This form of animal abuse needs to be stopped once and for all. Most of the vaccines and medications they test on animals intended for use on people usually don’t even work on animals.

No living creature should be forced to participate in scientific experimentation.  This is not Nazi Germany…yet. (Medical experimentation on unknowing victims has, unfortunately, happened in this country which may well account for the reluctance to trust the government and medical professions.) And no person should be forced to be vaccinated against their will, or be threatened for refusing.

Science has very strong evidence that all “creatures” are sentient beings, yet continues experimentation. We are very closely related to other mammals. Humans and mice share nearly 90% of human DNA. Think that’s a lot? Humans and chimpanzees share 98.8% of DNA, and humans and Gorillas share 98.4% of their DNA.  That’s CLOSE! We even share DNA with fruit flies who, by the way, also are partially sentient.

Now it is strongly believed that these sentient qualities even extend to crabs, lobsters, shrimp, prawns, octopuse, and squids.

Indeed, boiling live crustaceans is illegal in some countries, primarily Switzerland and New Zealand at this time. Ask yourself: would you prefer to be boiled alive or be dead first before being tossed in the pot.

Ironically, the Rights of Nature laws exist in about 17 countries. Ecuador adopted the Rights of Nature into their constitution. In the U.S., dozens of cities and counties have some form of Rights of Nature in their laws, codes, etc. protecting the environment and animals. CELDF (Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund) is an organization that helps communities defend themselves against harmful organizations. NRDC (Nature Resource Defense Council) is another organization trying to protect valuable habitat and animals. It’s still not enough.

Wild Law – A Manifesto for Earth Justice, by Cormac Cullinan, explores “earth and nature” issues, including the abuse and destruction of both. Basically his argument is that far too many people (which includes corporations and governments) connect poorly, if at all, with the rest of life on earth.

Let’s stop treating animals and nature like they are simply there for our use and disposal.

Oceans and Equines

In July we left Astoria, Oregon on an ebb and I puked my way up to West Port on the Washington Coast where we mercifully spent the night.

When it comes to Moonlight Mesa’s book sales, it seems westerns are out and oceans and equines are in!

What a shock this year was.

First off, sales were appreciably lower this year because I did no book events whatsoever but spent seven months on a boat in the San Juan Islands instead of in my office…which I sold anyway. Well, actually it took us 3 months to find a boat we could (a) afford, and (b) was clearly a solid, strong, comfy traveler. We found a gem in Portland, Oregon. A 43′ Tolly Craft…50′ overall. In July we left Astoria, Oregon on an ebb and I puked my way up to West Port on the Washington Coast where we mercifully spent the night. The following day was a piece of cake…no swells, no wind, just about perfect. Even had whale sightings.

The whole day wasn’t perfect, however. Due to covid, Neah Bay was closed to all boaters, so we had to continue down the Straits of Juan de Fuca with the wind springing to 25 knots, and small craft advisories up. The rollers became enormous, making steering extremely difficult. Finding a good anchorage took way longer than anticipated. It was exhausting.

Anyway, it was a good summer for my husband and me since we’d both had covid in February and survived – his case much, much worse than mine – like emergency room visit bad.

On to business…As for nonfiction sales, A Beginner’s Guide to Riding a Mule was amazing and led all other titles by a landslide. However, Lee Anderson’s Developing the Art of Equine Communication had, as always, steady and consistent sales. Saving Our Oceans sales were highly gratifying. Casey Tibbs – Born to Ride did well also.

Basically, all of our nonfiction titles have catapulted past fiction titles.  Although I took The Old Folks in the Boat off the market, I still sold copies to a several bookstores, one in Anacortes. Life Was a Cabaret – A Tale of Two Fools, a Boat, and a Big-A** Ocean sold there also. Indeed, every nonfiction title saw some movement.

What doesn’t sell in the Northwest are westerns. Go figure. I mean…no interest. Jere D. James, our primary western author, retired from writing but I think he’s contemplating another title. Another western? I have no idea, but I’ve a hunch it’ll be something different. Jere’s westerns literally made our business, especially Saving Tom Black…I’ll publish anything this author writes, fiction or non.

I’ve had several queries in the past few months, but right now we are not accepting any. We’ve decided to stick with nonfiction when we do resume looking at manuscripts.

The Littlest Wrangler, our best-selling young reader book has been out of print for the last 7 months due to a snafu and my absence, but it will be back in print this month. It’s an award winner as is Sam’s Desert Adventure, our other young reader book.

And, I’ve already made plans for how I will “legally” promote our titles next summer while traversing through Canada en route to Alaska. 🙂 I’ll share the details in a blog before we head north again.

HOPE is alive!

It’s very hard not to get enmeshed in the media’s negativity, sometimes outright lies, and congress’s shenanigans. But work to save our planet’s environment and inhabitants is ongoing, even if it’s not the top headline…or any headline. There truly is reason for HOPE

Many people are apparently suffering emotional slumps since the horrific introduction of Covid to the world. Every time conditions are looking better, another variant or surge comes along. It’s easy to see how a person can get lost in the misery of it all.

Maybe there’s not much hope for the virus ending but, if one looks carefully, hope is quietly becoming more noticeable in other areas.

Recently I read a quick review of Jane Goodall’s new book: The Book of Hope: A Survival Guide for Trying Times. Being a “Bookaholic” I couldn’t resist buying it. Honestly the book was a beckoning to me to terminate any depressing ideas about the state of the world and to move on. Yes, the virus may wax and wane for many decades, but I’ve come to believe that to get past covid a person needs to start living again. No more sheltering behind locked doors. (I was terrible at “isolating” as it was.)

While reading The Book of Hope, I began to notice all kinds of recent, hopeful news about a topic I truly care about: the Rights of Nature (whether it be animal or environmental). An unexpected example popped up in an email. APS, a local electricity provider for much of Arizona, is striving to protect and restore wildlife. Imagine! An electric power provider working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Arizona Fish and Game Department, the Liberty Wildlife Rehabilitation Foundation, and Wild at Heart.

Another example, the latest SeaDoc Blog/Newsletter does have some disappointing news, but a take-away is that it’s a terrific reminder of the many, many people who are working tirelessly on marine environmental issues. Even though one of the articles states that Puget Sound isn’t doing well, the article suggests that things are improving. And regularly there are positive reports of orca news on a few websites.

Discussion of stopping clear cutting and instead working toward forest preservation at the latest (highly polluting) big-wig European conference is a first and a terrifically positive sign.

GARN, The Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature, just held their 5th International Rights of Nature Tribunal. The Tribunal heard the most fundamental ecological cases facing the world today: the false solutions to the Climate Change crisis and the Amazon, a threatened living entity. The two cases were heard by a panel of globally recognized Rights of Nature judges. The prosecutors presented the false solutions to the climate change crisis and the Amazon as a threatened living entity case.

“The aim of this Tribunal is to bring maximum visibility to the current key struggles to protect the world’s ecosystems and confront the false solutions that are being presented in the face of these crises as well as the solutions emerging from civil society, and to offer legal rulings and precedents that may aid communities and activists in their struggles to protect and restore these ecosystems and advance the legal recognition of Nature as a rights-bearing entity.”

And Celdf (Community Legal Environmental Defense Fund) continues to help communities defeat environmentally unwanted and damaging actions that large corporations and government agencies try to impose.

It’s very hard not to get enmeshed in the media’s negativity, sometimes outright lies, and congress’s shenanigans. But work to save our planet’s environment and inhabitants is ongoing. Even if it’s not the top headline…or any headline…there truly is reason for HOPE!

Repeating the Past?

This adventure is somewhat different than our first time out, but every bit as exciting. Am I afraid? No. I’m only afraid to die just sitting around waiting for the inevitable end while dreaming about the past.

Can a person repeat a grand experience?

 Absolutely… sort of…depends…it may be a bit different the second time around, but it can be just as good as the first time, perhaps even better.

Too often as people grow older, they remember with great nostalgia an event or a time in their life when their world could not have been more perfect. Well, it can be that way again if they dare. A few people do so.

 About a year or so ago I was reading an article that asked me to close the page and answer this question: when was I the happiest? In an instant I recalled the joyous seven years my husband and I lived aboard our Cal 2-34 sailboat and traveled 25,000 miles. I even wrote an award-winning book about it: Life Was a Cabaret: A Tale of Two Fools, a Boat and a Big-A** Ocean. (Cabaret was the name of our boat.)

When I returned to the article, there was a another question: “Why aren’t you doing that now?” Instantly I knew that I had to return to the sea.

Our move, like most relocations, was very  difficult and complex, but once I’d realized when I had been the very happiest in my entire life, I had to proceed. We had no reason not to. Our children were grown and had established their own lives; we were retired, and we had no real ties to the town we’d been living in for the past 15 years. My husband was 100 percent in favor of the whole scheme and had talked many times about “living aboard” again and traveling. (That helps a lot!) Maybe he had long ago planted the seed that burst into bloom when I read the article!

The day our house sold we left Arizona bound for the Pacific Northwest where we’d both grown up and had started off on our early adventures. After 3 months of searching we finally found a boat we could afford that had ample room for us to spend lengths of time on it and that was sea worthy enough to make long passages. Although tempted to buy a sailboat once again, we debated the pros and cons many times before we decided to buy a “stink pot” power boat. I’m glad we did! I feel like we live in the lap of luxury compared to the small quarters of the adorable vessel that had pleased us immensely when we were younger. Sailing is, to be honest, more of a young person’s “gift,” not so much people in their 70s.

Differences? Too many years have passed to name them all, but mainly we are older by 40+ years now than our sailing days. We’re living in a different type of boat altogether than previous. But I will say our excitement, plans, and adventures are every bit as good. We may not do ocean passages again, but we can do Alaska to South American with stops along the way with no problem.

We spent this summer upgrading the boat with new electronics, replacing the propane stove (which I loved) with a diesel cook stove that will help with keeping the boat warm. (We had another boat with a diesel cook stove and I actually liked it!) We made many changes and additions. We also did some trial runs and got in lots of island hiking.

Next summer we will at long last head north and explore the Broughton Islands and then circumnavigate Vancouver Island. We plan to return to Alaska the following year and possibly spend two years there where I hope to explore all the places we missed out on the first time. Then perhaps it will be a long haul to Ecuador, Peru, Chile and on to the Straits of Magellan and Patagonia. In these travels I hope to share what knowledge I’ve gained as a Certified Marine Naturalist with others and to invite people to join the JUST ONE THING Alliance.

Perhaps we’re more audacious than a lot of people because we’ve been boaters for many years and kept a small tugboat in the San Juan Islands that we spent summers on. What we’re doing obviously won’t work for many people, but everyone has a time in their life they can in some fashion “re-experience.”

We will absolutely miss our small family, but we definitely plan to return at regular intervals and wear out our welcome. Perhaps they will join us on occasion!

This adventure is a somewhat different than our first time out, but every bit as exciting. Am I afraid? No. I’m only afraid to die just sitting around waiting for the inevitable end while dreaming about the past.

Where Are the Whales?

People are hungry to see the orcas!

Despite being situated in the Salish Sea for the past six months, it’s been difficult to keep track of the whales this year! I thought that since I was an official docent at the Friday Harbor Whale Museum, I’d be more up-to-date…this has not happened. Reports from the Center for Whale Research, however, have been super informative, but being in the right place at the right time to actually see a whale is infrequent.

However, that being said, there are still whales around! In fact, we were excited to see a small pod of orcas pass by the Anacortes Ferry terminal yesterday when we returned from an outing to Friday Harbor. Unfortunately, whale watching boats were NOT keep the required distance from the whales. Bottom line: People are hungry to see the orcas! A small pod swam along and you’d have thought that a miracle had occurred by the reaction of the onlookers…and perhaps it was a miracle.

There have been a number of sightings of the Biggs Transient Orcas, but the Southern Resident Pod (the northwest fave) has been a bit more secretive. J-pod has recent been seen in the area, but K and L pods have pretty much stayed on the west side of Vancouver Island. Smart move, really: more fish and fewer boaters there by far. What pod was seen by the ferry terminal, I have no idea. I love the whales and worry greatly about their well-being, but I do not have the wherewithal to memorize their dorsal fins, saddles, scars or other markings to recognize individuals.

However, both my husband and I were thrilled upon seeing two orcas just a short distance north of the Columbia River Bar as we headed north from Astoria, Oregon. In fact, I even forgot how majorly queasy I was felling when I sighted the two. The next day we saw a small group, probably Minkes, about three miles off the Washington shoreline north of West Port. I wasn’t seasick that day…the ocean was like a lake, and the whales were happily spouting as they likely gobbled silver salmon which seemed to be plentiful in the area judging by the number of fishing vessels. Honestly, we’d never seen so many whales in our sojourns up and down the west coast. It made me feel hopeful for these amazing fellow mammals.

We’ve now been in the Northwest for six months and on our newest vessel for three months. The rains have started…that means a lot of boaters have retired their boats for the year and anchorages will be far less busy. This could also very likely mean that more whales will be around. Perhaps we’ll get lucky more often!

I encourage you to join the Center for Whale Research located in Friday Harbor, Washington. It is also a 501c3, so your donations and membership are tax deductible, and you can be kept completely up-to-date on the whales. Also, check out the Friday Harbor Whale Museum gift shop for unique gifts. This is one way to support the only whale museum in the United States!

Covid and Hearing Loss

Many who’ve had Covid have their own tale to tell…regardless of science.

So much speculation about covid! The more the scientific and medical community dig, the deeper the mysteries of this virus. There will likely be studies into the next century trying to determine the cause and effects of Covid 19 and its offspring variants. Many who’ve had covid have their own tale to tell regardless of the “experts.”

I can tell you with certainty that because of my bout with covid I now must wear hearing gizmos (for some reason I can’t bring myself to call them hearing aides.)

Let me be honest…my hearing before my covid experience was not ideal. Occasionally I had to turn up the volume on the television, okay? That was about the extent of my problem. This is a common issue nowadays due to most programs, other than news and programs of that ilk, being filmed on site…and not in a studio. In addition, actors whisper or speak in low voices. Often there are sirens screaming in the background or dramatic music of some sort playing. Plus, in all honestly, women’s voices being at a higher pitch than men’s are often more difficult to hear with all the background hub-bub. But my hearing pre-covid was acceptable.

I was down with the virus for about five days (although it took me about two more weeks to get my energy back full force). However, to the point: upon my “return” I immediately noticed that I could hear people on television talking but I could not understand a word. Not a word. Just voice noise. Naturally I blamed the television acoustics. “We need a new television with speakers.” Then I repeatedly told my husband to speak up and to quit slurring his words. “Tom, your speech is really getting slurry. Are you okay?” Then I noticed I often had to ask people to repeat themselves, or I just guessed at what they said. I even tried to read lips sometimes. This was far more difficult than I imagined. “People need to learn to enunciate!” I exclaimed. Worse yet was when a person wore a mask AND cowered behind a plastic barrier. Occasionally, someone I could understand came along. I noticed it was usually always a male and we’d be outside – not in an indoor setting.

After four months of asking people to repeat themselves or guessing at what they said, or saying “what?” continually, I had my hearing tested. I thought I was doing quite well in the little booth…until human voices became part of the test. I had to repeat what a woman said at a social gathering…each time the gathering grew louder. It was a pointless test…I could only detect one or two words when at the quietest level.

Needless to say I was shocked at the hearing test results. But the other shock came when I was told that both my eardrums were riddled with scars. I have never had an ear infection. In my entire life no one, doctor or nurse, has mentioned anything about scars on my eardrums. How do eardrums get scarred? Could it be covid?

Everyday that I put my hearing gizmos in, I pray this is just long covid or a temporary loss and that one day my hearing will be back, but my hopes for a recovery are fading. Even though I feel very sad about all of this, I know I’m lucky not to be totally deaf.

This is not definitive proof for a scientist that covid caused my hearing loss, I know that. But it’ll be hard to convince me otherwise.

My Gizmos…