No writing yesterday. No busyness of writing yesterday (a few emails aside). We went to the shore, to see the heavy surf that was the aftermath of the storm. We went first to Narragansett, to Harbor of Refuge. We were both surprised by the violence of the waves. It was greater than what we'd expected. We walked out on the beach on the western side of the granite jetty. The air was full of salt mist and sea gulls, and the wind was bitter, though the day was freakishly warm (high 60sF here in Providence). The sun was bright, a white hole of fire punched in the sky. It was almost impossible to hear one another over the roar of the waves, but then, there was nothing that needed saying, anyway. We found a surfboard washed up on the sand, its owner nowhere to be seen. It was clear that the high tide, which had been sometime around 9 a.m. (CaST), had come well inland, into the brush and salt marshes north of the harbor. It appeared that wooden barricades had been erected the day before to keep back sightseers, but the waves had smashed them. Spooky found an orange blob of fish eggs amongst the flotsam. I'm not sure how high the waves were— officially, I mean —but they were slamming against and over-topping the jetty (which is 5-7 feet high, if you're standing on the beach it protects), sending spray twenty or thirty feet into the afternoon air.
We left Harbor of Refuge, having decided we wanted to see what was going on farther west, at Moonstone Beach. But first we went all the way down to Point Judith, where the tide was lower than I'd ever seen it before. Mossy green rocks were exposed, and tide pools, but the waves were too treacherous to try for a look at what might be stranded in them. The foghorn at the lighthouse called out over the crash of the breakers.
On the way to Moonstone Beach, I pointed out a bumper sticker to Spooky. "Do No Harm." As if that's even possible, as if every human action, no matter how profound or mundane, doesn't do harm in some way. Still, I suppose it's a nice sentiment.
We reached Moonstone as the sun was getting low. We'd stopped somewhere along the way so I could photograph a field, still green in December. We passed cows and flooded pastures. When we finally reached Moonstone Beach, we found it completely transformed by the storm. The usual carpet of cobbles and pebbles was swept away or buried. Much of the sand was stained black with the ghost of the '96 oil spill. The waves were almost as impressive as those at Harbor of Refuge, four and half miles to the east. Despite low tide, the brackish tea-colored water in Trustom Pond was very high, rushing loudly through the spillway into Card Pond. Spooky and I walked west, towards Green Hill, walking into the wind. But we only went a hundred yards or so. The sun slipped behind clouds advancing from Long Island Sound, and the temperature abruptly plummeted. By the time we made it back to the car, we were shivering and the dunes were in shadow.
And that was yesterday. I have enough photographs for several days, and the first seven are behind the cut below.
Please note that we've begun a new round of eBay auctions. And that Spooky has only four of her Cthulhu-headstone Cehalopodmas ornaments remaining (of the ten she made); you can see (and purchase) them in her Etsy Dreaming Squid Dollworks shop.
There will be no writing today. I have to finish editing "Sanderlings" and get the chapbook ready to send to Subterranean Press. Also, I need to undo a large number of changes that an over-zealous copy-editor wrought upon one of my stories. I will not name the story, the book, or the editors— it wasn't their fault. I just wish publishers would start firing copy-editors who try to become authors vicariously, by "correcting," and thereby mangling, prose. It is an enormous waste of my time that I have to go back, now, and fix what wasn't broken to begin with.
Photos from Harbor of Refuge:
Looking east, from Harbor of Refuge towards the lighthouse at Point Judith.
View to the southeast.
View to the southwest. Jetty at the far right.
Harbor of Refuge, with the jetty at center and to the left. View to the southwest.
Waves visible above the top edge of the jetty. View to the east.
In the lee of the jetty. View to the south southwest.
Violence and gulls on the jetty. VIew to the south.
All photographs Copyright © 2009 by Caitlín R. Kiernan and Kathryn A. Pollnac.