Somehow, I got up an hour early, and now I'm running an hour late. Don't fucking ask me. Today, I have to decide whether or not to shelve/scrap "The Living and Their Stillborn," while doing half a dozen other things, all of which ought to have been done two weeks to two months ago. The story simply seems to have no reason for existing, beyond "I owe an editor a story about cyborgs." Which is as shitty a reason as it would be possible for me to devise. I cannot find the heart of the thing. It's sick, stunted, dull. It has nothing to say, and it's saying it hard.
One thought that kept going through my head yesterday, as I beachcombed out on Conanicut Island: "I have to kill the Myth of Me before it kills me." Still, if there's such a thing as a nice day in March in Rhode Island, yesterday was it. A damned decent day. Which I'll come to shortly. Today, however, the clouds are back, the weather's turning chilly again (currently 51˚F, but it feels like 46˚F), and we're supposed to get a little snow tonight. A coating to an inch. One flake would be one flake too much. Tomorrow's high is only supposed to be 26˚F. What the fuck, seriously. I begin to feel a little less like slitting my throat, and here it comes again.
And now, the stale Hell of yesterday.
I actually used that nauseating sight to explain loess to Kathryn, loess and glaciers as a source of sedimentation.
I've begun reading Carson McCullers' The Heart is a Lonely Hunter (1940) for the first time since, I guess, college.
Anyway, as yesterday was warmish and sunny, I said fuck the work, and we headed out to Conanicut Island. We stopped at the bank on the way (gagh), then at the North Kingstown Library, where I donated seven boxes of books. Many of these I'd had since high school. But they're gone now, and those seven boxes represented the last of the Great Book Purge of 2013-2014. It is done. It is over. Hundreds and hundreds of books, no longer my problem. I was actually sad to see those go yesterday. Sadder still today.
We'd meant to go all the way to Beavertail, but as we were passing Mackerel Cove, we both spotted something just beneath the water. I though it might be a carcass, maybe a big shark. We turned around and headed back. The whatever it was never surfaced, and we began to suspect it was only a rock. Likely, that's all it was, just below the advancing tide. Normally, we bypass Mackerel Cove. In the summer it's crowded with tourons. Worse yet, the water is usually foul with seaweeds and smells so bad we have to keep the windows rolled up as we drive by. And yet, yes, people swim and sunbathe there. Go figure.
But yesterday the air was clean, and the broad, shallow inlet didn't stink (cold water keeping organic decay to a minimum, etc.). There were great heaps of shells, and I sat down and began picking through them. We brought home a boxful, most of which will likely be discarded, once I've identified them. Surf clams (Spisula solida) and slipper shells (Crepidula fornicata) probably accounted for 75% of the mollusks. But there was also a variety of others pelecypods (bivalves), including razor clams (also called "jackknife clams," Ensis directs), jingle shells (Anomia simplex), blue mussels, and bay scallops (Argopecten irradiates, formerly Aequipecten irradiates). There was a wide variety of snails, including periwinkles, dog whelks, oyster drills, dogwinkles, augers, and the battered remains on some very large knobbed and channeled whelks. Kathyn found a beautiful little purple urchin (Strongylocentrotus purpuratus). We found some interesting bird and mammal bones. I spotted a noisy flock of house finches (Haemorhous mexicanus, i.e. Carpodacus mexicanus) and Spooky photographed them.
It was good being out. I'd taken a Vicodin, and I almost just laid down in the shell hash and dozed off the the sound of the waves. I took three more underwater shots with Nemo (I'll post those tomorrow), and got my tennis shoes soaked in the process. We arrived at the cove about 4 p.m. and stayed until about 5:45 p.m., when the sun began to slip below clouds, bringing back the cold. Then we drove back to Providence, and swung by Brown to visit Mama Kim's for Korean comfort food. There was a beautiful sunset. And there are eighteen photographs behind the cut.
Just down the street from the library in North Kingstown, this.
Crossing the Western Passage of Narragansett Bay to Conanicut Island, view to the east. 3:38 p.m.
A clam's eye view of Mackerel Cove, view to the southeast.
A house finch.
Not that there actually are any dunes here. Hurricane Sandy spirited them all away.
North of Mackerel Cove, on the other side of the road, is Sheffield Cove, with its salt marshes. View to the north, towards the Jamestown Verrazano Bridge, which carried us over onto the island. View to the north.
And yet people swim here, and fish here, and top take shellfish from here.
A beautiful white waxing moon rose over the Cove. 5:34 p.m.
Getting ready to head home, Spooky cleans the filthy windshield.
I brought along Herr Schnabeltier, who's as stir crazy as are we. View to the southwest, towards Fort Getty and Beavertail.
Back in Providence, the Vietnamese truck was tempting, but no. Mama Kim's, please!
That waxing moon again, shining down on Brown University. 6:42 p.m.
And then, the spectacular sunset. Here we are on Wickenden Street, about to cross the river. View to the west.
Stop. View to the west.
Final photo of the day. 6:51 p.m.
All photographs Copyright © 2014 by Caitlín R. Kiernan and Kathryn A. Pollnac
Now, an hour late, work.
Closing the Curtains,