January 5th, 2009

Middle Triassic

"If looks could kill, they probably will..."

I fled the house yesterday. I'd not been out since the snowstorm began on New Year's Eve. It begins to show after a while, the not going out. I look in the mirror, and it shows. Spooky and I bundled up (mid-thirties F out) and headed away from the city towards Conanicut Island. We passed bright rinds of snow everwhere, not nearly as much of it melted away as I would have thought. Beneath the white sun and the blue sky, the snow almost seemed to burn. So there was white fire in the sky and white fire on the ground, framed in the bluest engulfing sort of blue.

It must have been about 2 p.m. (CaST) when we left home. We drove across the wide span of the Jamestown Verrazzano Bridge, which carried us up into that hungry sky, over the West Passage of Narragansett Bay. The water was very smooth below us, the hard colour of some blue-black stone. The water always looks hard from up there. I saw no boats. Once on the island we drove south, through Jamestown. The great salt marsh was frozen, and there was ice in the inlet north of Mackerel Cove. We didn't stop, but drove directly on to Beavertail. There was a surprising (to me, not Spooky) number of people out. We chose the eastern side of the point, deciding that it would be less windy, and so warmer, even though we'd be out of the sun. I don't recall how long it had been since we'd been to Beavertail. Sometime in the autumn. Too long, at any rate. We were ridiculously bundled against the cold. At least, to me it seemed ridiculous. I hate wearing so many clothes.

We climbed down onto the snow-dappled rocks and sat watching the sea sloshing against the tilted, contorted beds of slate and phyllite. The sea was very calm, the tide beginning to retreat. We sat and listened to all the sounds of Panthalassa, smelling all the smells. There were gulls and cormorants, and blackbirds, and a hawk that came skimming in low over the water. Here and there among the boulders were frozen pools of freshwater that had run down from the forest above us, that had collected in the fissures and hollow places. I soon forgot the cold. It hardly seemed to matter. We sat there for a while, north of the lighthouse. Wherever the sun reflected off the sea it was so dazzling that I had to look away.

Having hardly left the house since the first week of December, I'd forgotten how much the sea soothes me. And there was much yesterday to be soothed. After a time, we crossed over to the eastern side of the point and found a cove in amongst the rocks. The climb down was a little treacherous, because of the ice. But there was a pebbly beach, and there was an overhang to keep us out of the wind. There were icicles. The water was an almost perfectly translucent shade of green. I picked through shells and the carapaces of shattered crabs and lobsters. Spooky found a marble drawer handle, worn smooth, something that might have tumbled in the sea for decades or centuries.

And then we headed farther east, to Fort Weatherill and the little cove where there's so much beach glass. I can't remember the name of the cove. Something unimaginative like West Cove. We lay there on the cobbles and pebbles, the icy sea lapping at out feet, and collected a double handful of mermaid's tears in no time at all. A woman from Connecticut stopped and talked to us about beach glass. It was about 5 p.m. (CaST) when we began to lose the light, twilight slipping quickly over the beach, and so we headed back to the van. On the way back across the bridge to the mainland I fell asleep and didn't wake until almost an hour later, as we were pulling into the parking lot of Eastside Market in Providence.

So, yes. A very, very good day. The sort of day I need to be strong against all those other days.

I hope that everyone has received Sirenia Digest. If not, email Spooky at x.squid.soup.x(at)gmail(dot)com, and she'll fix you up. Thanks to the people who commented yesterday on "Murder Ballad No. 5" and "Lullaby of Partition and Reunion." Comments are always welcome.

There are photos from yesterday. I don't think I feel like writing captions, so I shall let them speak for themselves (but if you have questions, just ask).:

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