Low Tide

Along the coastline, there is high tide and there is low tide. Everyone plans and configures their buildings and docks and decks for high tide, when the ocean majestically sweeps in, leaving everything awash and bobbing on the water. (That obviously makes sense, of course, because if you designed everything for low tide you would find your careful designs underwater or afloat at high tide.)

But I prefer low tide, because it lets you see the soft underbelly of the coastline communities. The buildings built on stilts. The bottom of the bay. The algae lines on the piers. And the floating docks, sadly left high and dry.

Low tide gives you a peek at reality.


Seagull Over Stonington

Kish and I took a brisk morning walk today. It is a fine, glorious day, with a bright blue sky and seagulls wheeling overhead.

Being a Midwestern landlubber, seagulls still intrigue me, with their downy white feathers and aerial acrobatics, but the locals pretty much loathe them. They tolerate seagulls because the tourists expect to see them — what’s a port town without seagulls? — but they know seagulls are trash-eaters that like nothing better than picking at a dumpster for spoiled food and then coating your lobster boat with rank seagull poop. The outward appearance of seagulls is a lot more attractive than the actual reality.

Seagulls are kind of like Hollywood that way.

Exploring Deer Isle

Today we stopped at the Island Heritage Trust office. It’s one of those great old-fashioned places that is crammed to the rafters with hiking trail pamphlets, postcards, bird-watching books, maps, binoculars, note cards with island scenes engraved on the front, guidebooks, whale-watching brochures, and every other form of island life accoutrement you can think of. Our purpose in visiting was to find some good hiking trails and information about scenic parts of Deer Isle — of which Stonington is part.

After loading ourselves down with Deer Isle hiking brochures and a really nifty map that cost only $2.64 (with tax) we set out for our first destination — Sandy Beach. I figured this had to be a misnomer, because it’s hard to imagine sand existing on this rock-ribbed, granite-encrusted peninsula. But it does, as the photograph above shows. There’s not a lot of sand, to be sure — but there is real sand. And, of course, there are all kinds of cool, massive granite rock formations along the beach, too.

You can actually swim at Sandy Beach if you choose to. I think I might try it, say, for a nanosecond on the hottest day in August, and then sit on those rocks, bask in the sunshine, enjoy a picnic lunch, and savor a cold beer.

Total Calm

Today is one of those perfectly calm days, where the water in the Stonington harbor looks like a sheet of hammered silver and the boats lie perfectly motionless at anchor, as if they are moored in concrete. There’s only the slightest breath of wind, and it is so quiet you can hear the remaining dead leaves rustling in the trees, the cawing of crows, and lone human voices carrying from far across the harbor.

It’s not hard to relax here.

Fall Come, Fall Gone

I was treated to this beautiful autumn scene of fallen, and falling, leaves on my way to work this morning. Unfortunately, it was about 26 freaking degrees and a bone-chilling arctic gale was blowing, too.

This illustrates the hard reality of our modern “seasons.” There is no fall anymore, not the kind that we remember — when the sky was clear and bright and dry, the temperatures were in the 50s, leaves crunched underfoot, and sweaters were the apparel of choice. There’s no spring, either. Just hot summer and cold winter, with about a week separating them on each end.

Too bad . . . I liked autumn.