Lens-artists Photo Challenge #131-Emotions

My photography doesn’t often include people.  I do mostly landscapes and nature.  This post will consist of photos from one day, yesterday, and one destination.  My husband and I went out shopping for a handgun for me, to be kept mostly at home for self-defense.  I am a 71-year-old woman, and there are just the two of us in our household.  Our neighbors keep mostly to themselves, and I don’t even know their names, so I am most often at home alone.

For most of my life, I was almost afraid of guns, and didn’t think they belonged in my life at all.  I had a boyfriend many years ago, who carried a gun at all times.  When he came over to my apartment, I made him place the gun on the top shelf of my closet, out of sight and mostly out of mind.  After we broke up, I didn’t have any reason to consider firearms at all.

My attitude changed dramatically, just a few years ago, after my political orientation became conservative.  I met many people from Ricochet.com who were gun owners and users.  Also, once we became supporters of Hillsdale College, we met more gun owners, and were made aware of their shooting-sports programs. Hillsdale runs “couples weekends” twice a year, on campus at their own range, and some of my friends have attended.  They all spoke glowingly about how much fun they had, and how their skills had improved.  Still, the idea of learning to shoot, and purchasing my own gun, were pretty far from my mind.

Until just recently.  The swift rise of “cancel culture”, and the government tyranny brought about by the Wuhan Coronavirus, have changed my attitude dramatically.  Let’s talk Emotions now; mine.  Given how the party now in power, and their Big Tech buddies act toward people who think like I do, for the first time in my long life, I have some genuine fear for my life and my lifestyle.

The first week of this month, I went to a local gun club, and took a Ladies Handgun class.  I learned about the different kinds of handguns, learned to load and unload one, and was made aware of the various laws affecting gun ownership in my state.  I discovered that some people still use “six-shooters”, revolvers like the Colts of the old Wild West!  They make some pretty high-tech firearms, too.  And finally I got to shoot a gun myself, for the first time.  Much to my surprise and delight, I turned out not to be too bad of a shot-I shot 18 rounds with three different guns, and the majority of my shots hit the desired target, one a bulls-eye.

A have a Ricochet friend who has been sending me emails, with suggestions for guns I might like to try out and maybe buy.  Yesterday, Hubby and I went out gun shopping, to see if we could find me one.  We had success on the first try, at our local Sportsman’s Warehouse store.  They had the gun I decided I liked the best, and I put it on 24-hour hold, while we went to another store to see if there were something else I liked better.

Small digression, but useful.  The Tulalip Tribe of Indians has their main reservation north of my home.  Being an economically-advanced tribe, they have made excellent use of their land just to the west of I-5, by building a casino, a shopping center, and a thriving outlet mall.


This is one side of a big fountain in front of the casino and hotel building. The hotel is really posh-I won a raffle at work, and the prize was one night at the hotel, plus dinner in one of the many restaurants they have there.

On the other side of that fountain, you find:


One of the stores at the Tulalip shopping center is Cabela’s, the big outdoor store.  We had never been there, and our first excursion was quite a revelation.  I knew they were big, and carried just about everything you need for camping, hunting, running, and every sort of outdoor activity.  I was not prepared for how lovely the store was inside.  All around the perimeter of the store, they have dozens of dioramas, representing all kinds of game and wild animals you might encounter in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.  They have a huge fish tank, too, with salmon and other local fish swimming around.  Perfect for the kids to watch while Mom and Dad shop.

Our first stop, of course, was the firearms area, and we checked out handguns that might work for me.  It turned out that they were a lot more expensive than the gun I had already picked out, and they didn’t have that model in stock anyway.  So, once we had determined that we wouldn’t find me a gun there, we explored the rest of the store.  And that’s where the photos come in, and the emotions.

For many people in this country, the sport of hunting is abhorrent.  Some people just don’t eat meat, and think that killing wild animals for food should be unnecessary in an advanced society, where the local supermarket is filled with all sorts of food.  Others are extreme conservationists, who think we should live in harmony with all wildlife, and should never think of killing any of them.  So the pictures I took at Cabela’s might represent activities that might inspire uncomfortable feelings in some viewers.

I thought all the dioramas of animals in their wild habitats were very well-done, and they all made me smile.  Now, I don’t know if they were taxidermy real animals, or just very good models (I think the former, but I didn’t ask anyone), but they are very accurate.

First of all, I took a picture of this very nice wood sculpture on the wall, representing a bear and a deer in the Indian art style of the Pacific Northwest.  This would be welcome in anyone’s home, and I think they sell smaller reproductions of it in the store.


I expect there’s some sort of legend behind this. The Tulalip Tribe has many well-known artists in this style.


These are Elk, with a Mountain Lion stalking.  I’m a fan of all the big cats.

Mtn goats

Those Mountain Goats are found in abundance in the Olympic National Park here in Washington State.  In fact, there are so many of them that some have had to be removed and transplanted over to the North Cascades.


Those Musk Oxen are found in Alaska, but not here in Washington State.  I wonder if those horns were the inspiration for the women’s “flip” hairstyle that we wore in the late 1960s.

Finally, we went over to the opposite side of the store, and I got quite a surprise when I looked up!


That cat might give you a shock, if you weren’t expecting it!  I still think she’s a thing of beauty, even if a bit scary.

The emotions I experienced while in the Cabela’s store were mostly positive.  I loved looking close-up at animals that you’d never see that close in the wild. I had great admiration for the people who made those complex displays, and felt respect for the accuracy of the habitats, and the beauty of all the animals.  We spent a few minutes watching all the fish swimming in their tank, and I admired their gracefulness.

I don’t go hunting myself, but I know a great many people who do, and I know that they all have much appreciation for the outdoors, and always treat the land and all the animals with respect.  The State keeps track of hunters and issues them licenses every year, and I also know that many people go out hunting for deer or elk, and come back empty-handed.  Even then, they spend the day outdoors in nature, enjoying the scenery and the peacefulness, even if they don’t bag their deer.  My father-in-law used to go elk hunting on occasion, and he never did get one!  But he bought his “elk tag” every year and went out anyway.  He did go grouse-hunting often in Eastern Washington, and when he got a bird or two, my mother-in-law cooked them for us, and they were very tasty.

Our trip to Cabela’s was fun and productive, and we do plan to go back there soon.

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