Yesterday, I did 1,035 words on "A Paleozoic Dreamquest." Today I did another 1,452, and found THE END of the vignette. So, everything (except the prolegomena) has been written for Sirenia Digest #45, though I still have a bit of editing to do. Oh, and as promised, here's the "trilobite pr0n" illustration that Vince Locke sent, upon which I based "A Paleozoic Dreamquest." Pretty literally, I might add. I love when we reverse the process, and I get to write for what he's already drawn:
It's been a rainy, cool day here in Providence, as Danny approaches.
After work yesterday, we headed to Moonstone Beach, as we'd wanted to get some post-Hurricane Bill beachcombing in. But as we were walking from the van, along the sandy trail that leads between Trustom and Cards ponds and out to the shore, we came upon a female Double-Crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus). Clearly, there was something wrong with it, as they never allow us to approach so close. Of all Rhode Isalnd's sea birds, the cormorants are my favorite, and it was wonderful to be able to get so near to one, but alarming, too, as we realized it was either sick or injured (even though no injury was visible). I sat down on the bridge near it, and a few minutes later, a man came along who'd already called the Department of Environmental Management about the cormorant. We talked about the threat posed to her by coyotes, raccoons, minks, and other local predators. But thinking that help was on the way, we headed along to the beach.
The storm had moved the sand about quite a bit, and there were more cobbles and pebbles than usual. There were shattered spider crabs, sponges, horseshoe crabs, and a few unusual varieties of snail. The air was so clear that Block island seemed close enough to touch, though it lies ten miles to the south, across the sound. As the sun was setting, we headed back to the van, and found the ailing cormorant had not moved from its perch on the stone wall. However, it had been joined by a male, presumably its mate. Not wanting to leave before the DEM showed up (assuming the would show), we waited a bit. Spooky got some video of the birds, and I sat near them on the bridge. Before long, the man who'd called the DEM returned, with a cat carrier and heavy gloves, and we helped him bundle the female cormorant into a towel (she offered no resistance) so that he could get her to a local wildlife rescue vet. The male dove into the salt marsh, and swam away. It was almost dark when we finally left. I spent most of the night worrying about the cormorant, and have no idea what has become of her. I suppose I never will.
I should definitely write these things in the morning, when I'm not too exhausted from fiction writing to do them justice.
If you've not had a look at the current round of eBay auctions, please do, and thanks.
And here are the photos from yesterday evening:
The ailing cormorant.
Another view. Such an amazing, beautiful bird.
Moonstone Beach, looking south towards Block Island, just visible on the horizon.
Tracks from a Piping Plover (Charadrius melodus).
Sunset, view to the west.
Hurricane Bill moved the dunes a bit, covering part of this fence and burying dog roses. View to the north.
A closeup of pebbles, with a moonstone at the center of the photo. For scale, the moonstone here is about one centimeter in diameter.
Another closeup of pebbles, view to the north.
The male (left) and female (right) cormorants, after we returned to the bridge.
Sunset over Trustom Pond. View to the southwest.
All photographs Copyright © 2009 by Caitlín R. Kiernan and Kathryn A. Pollnac