Sunday, August 22, 2004

Next to the White Dove Gallery in Tacoma is a taxidermist. I was down there because TYD had set up a photo show with all the usual cool kids: herself, Jeff, John, Dylan, Cat, Jerry, and Chas, as well as Jeff Youngstrom, whom I've never met before but appears to also be a pretty swell guy. (I should mention here that Tara was with me in the 'no, I didn't take any of these' corner and that Cat was out of the country and Chas out of the state for the opening. There. That's all the linking I can manage for one post.)

Anyway. Taxidermist. John and I moseyed over to gawk at tufts of hair in the grass and peek in the windows, and when we poked our heads in the door a man who looked just like a taxidermist should walked out of the back and invited us in. They were having fish painting lessons, and so the whole place smelled like spraypaint, which was actually a relief considering what I had thought it would smell like.
A side room was crammed with stuffed critters of all sorts: a variety of mounted heads, a badger that was in my dreams all night, a couple of bobcats reaching for and just missing some birds. A wolf more than halfway as tall as me guarded the doorway, snarling and so realistic that I, big baby that I am, was a little afraid of it.
In the back stood a few men with fiberglass trouts on sticks, painting them.
I've never really been a big one for taxidermy. My stepmother's father was a hunter and his talk about trophies always made me a little uncomfortable. When my father brought home a giant deer head once, I told him that I'd bury it in the backyard if it wasn't gone by the time I came home. (It would never have happened: we didn't have a shovel.) But I was impressed by the happenings inside this shop, and the talent that must be part of the process.
I was pretty sure that if it had to pick, the wolf would have been ok with what they'd turned it into.

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