In all ways, yesterday was the best we've had since leaving Atlanta on Tuesday the 25th. The heat was still monstrous, but, about 1:30 p.m., we fled the sweltering cottage in Greenhill in search of cooler climes. First, as a gift for having survived the aforementioned Troubles, for having not slammed my head in a door or broken things that do not belong to me, Spooky took me to the Kingston Hill Store, which is now run by Allison Barrigton Goodsell, a purveyor of books, used and rare, old postcards, and antique prints. We'd been there a few days before, and though I'd seen a couple of things I wanted, all was so uncertain I'd not allowed myself to spend a dime. On the return trip, I picked up The Sea and Its Wonders (1871, Mary & Elizabeth Kirby) and Forgotten By Time: A Book of Living Fossils (1966, Robert Silverberg — a book I was very fond of in junior high and hadn't seen since), both of which I'd spotted on our first trip there on the 31st. Browsing the shelves, I also turned up a first edition of my favourite Shirley Jackson novel, We Have Always Lived in the Castle (1962), and Spooky said yes, I could have that, too. So, I left the shop about $50 poorer, but very happy with the books. By the way, back in the late '80s, the Kingston Hill Store (built in 1897) was a gas station/convenience store, and Spooky worked there at the age of 17.
The storm has passed, leaving all wet and green and cool, and so far we still have power.
After the bookshop, Spooky took me to the air-conditioned sanctuary of the Kingston Free Library (another landmark from her childhood), where I passed an hour or so reading books on fish, local geology, Rhode Island history, and an obscure volume of sea poems published in 1886. Oh, and I made notes for the next story or vignette, which will likely be set in the same unnamed town on the Oregonian coast that served as the setting for "The Cryomancer's Daughter (Murder Ballad No. 3)." Then we drove south to Peace Dale and spent another hour at the gorgeous South Kingston Public Library (Peace Dale Library), where I read of New England vampires and H. P. Lovecraft. About six p.m., we left the library, and Spooky took me to a foot bridge across the Saugatucket River. The river here is broad and slow, the tree-lined banks festooned with lily pads and flowering water plants. We spotted at least three species of dragonflies and watched several young Eastern Painted turtles (Chrysemys picta picta) surfacing for air and nibbling at aquatic plants. It's a truly beautiful spot, just off Main Street, not far south of Saugatucket Pond.
Afterwards, we headed south to Narragansett and had dinner at Iggy's, where I gorged on fresh codfish and chips, Manhattan-style clam chowder, and cole slaw (yes, I regret to say that my vegetarianism is lapsed, but I promise that I shall get back to it, by and by). After dinner, we drove still farther south to Point Judith. The sun was setting, and great thunderheads were piling up above Rhode Island Sound. We watched them from the northern side of the Point, and then Spooky took me to a spot on the southwestern side, a long and curving jetty built of Avalonian metamorphics, Proterozoic schists and granites and slates, and jutting out to sea (here bearing the delightful name, Harbor of Refuge). The incoming tide made wonderful gargling, slurping sounds as it sluiced through the hollow places between the jumbled rock beneath our feet. The lighthouse was at our back, and the foghorn was calling out, reminding me of Bradbury. Near dark, we headed back to Greenhill, and very much later, we watched John Huston's adaptation of Moby Dick (1956). Gregory Peck made such a perfect Ahab. And that was yesterday. I think I got to sleep about three p.m.
And here are the photos from yesterday (behind the cut):
Home of many a fabulous book.
Kingston Free Library
The Rhode Island Reading Room at the Peace Dale Library (and the top of Spooky's head).
Bridge over the Saugatucket River (looking west).
Maxfield Parish clouds above Rhode Island Sound, looking north from Pt. Judith.
Point Judith Lighthouse, seen from jetty at Harbour of Refuge (looking east).
Oh, and there was a nice e-mail a day or two ago from Peter Straub. It's good to know the NYC heat hasn't baked him and Susie alive.
All photos taken by and copyright © 2006 by Caitlín R. Kiernan & Kathryn A. Pollnac.