Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Sand, salt, marsh

I'll be grouping my recapitulation of my time away in a series of posts that are somewhat thematically orientated. This is the macro version of things. The micro (even if it is the work, occasionally, of the macro lens) will follow. These blackberries were growing alongside the family compound, as I refer to it with my tongue firmly in cheek, on the Far Away Island. I picked a bunch in the dewy dawn, paying only two mosquito bites for my efforts. A spoon full of sugar on them, and they were incredibly, incredibly good. Later, a stink bug of some kind was found enjoying the ones I’d picked; it was sluggish from its time in the fridge. That turned OHS off her feed, but not me.

This robin’s nest is in the Japanese cedar in front of the house; they nest in this crotch every year, making a new nest each time. This tree is the only one of the front-of-house plantings my parents put in during the late 1970s that has survived this long. The island is cruel to ornamentals, unless you live in town, which is better protected, and employ one of the many local landscaping companies, grounds-keeping peasantry for the great estates, of which the family compound is not one.

Great Point Light. A close observer will note the solar panels. This is actually a modern replacement of the 1815 light that collapsed in 1984 during a storm. The Point is being whittled away on the ocean (east) side and building up on the Sound (west) side. Wind and tide, my friends, are mightier than the Realtor’s pen. The scrubby eastern red cedars that grow on Coskata, on the way to the Point, are so heavily salt-wind blasted they not only bend away from the wind, but their windward side is dead, ghostly. While on island, we say a grey seal, the so-called horse’s head, off the South Shore; several osprey, a Cooper’s hawk, several northern harriers; a tire-flattened milk snake, after seeing one alive in the Maria Mitchell collection. I briefly spotted a savanna sparrow and witnessed a turkey vulture feeding on a gull. I bite into a rose hip from a beach rose; rather tomatoey with its sweet tartness. I tried a beach plum, which was excellent. I tried a dogwood fruit: it was sweet, but woody. A cherry, which was insipid. The concord grapes were not yet ripe.

This is the path leading to the ocean north of Boston, at Parker River NWR, a.k.a. Plum Island. Behind us, the salt marsh skeeters were jumping like cannibals on the Atkins diet. We repaired here after $22 plates of fried clams and fries and onion rings at Woodman’s in Essex, MA, purported to be the natal burg of the fried clam. $22 plates of clams, oy! OHS’s parents had a very fine view of a great blue heron. We also saw many snowy egrets and a muskrat here.

It was the late afternoon of a day that was supposed to be rainy and stormy and was not. On meeting OHS’s father, he said my mustache and beard combination was somewhat reminiscent of Trotsky, and I said the old red was in fact the model for my facial hair, and he said “I was afraid of that.”

It’s very hard to get back to work.

3 comments:

knithound brooklyn said...

Welcome back to the world. It's a grind, ain't it? :)

M.Thew said...

Yes, but sometimes a) a beautiful day, b) a bunch of basil, and c) a falafel from Damascus Bakery on Atlantic, makes it all worth coming back from lunch.

apt pupil said...

You call that work?