Yesterday, I walked in the sea.
No writing yesterday. I'd not really left the House since we did Gallery Night at the RISD Museum last Thursday (June 17th), and I was getting a little restless. So we went to Conanicut Island and Beavertail State Park. To the rocks and the sea. We parked and followed a path down to the western shore of the island, about .45 miles north if the point. The day was hot, and the sun a bit brutal down on the slate and phyllite. After a few minutes of watching the sea and looking for beach glass, I waded into the surf. I've never done this at Beavertail before, despite our many trips there. I went in as far as my thighs. And it was wonderful.
The water was icy, but the shock passed quickly. And I just stood there, feeling the sea all around me, pushing me and pulling me. I have resolved that I'm going to begin swimming again (I was once an excellent swimmer), and that next time we go to Beavertail, I'm swimming. I have to get this body back into shape, and swimming is one of the best things I could do towards that end.
There are trails along the cliffs that we'd never before explored, and we followed them south. The woods were full of birds: catbirds, red-winged blackbirds, starlings, pine warblers. Spooky spotted what we think was a Summer Tanager (Piranga rubra). We saw osprey nesting in the salt marshes, and egrets. Off shore, there were cormorants. There were gulls everywhere, of course. And rabbits. The dog roses are in full bloom, and the rose hips are ripening. So are the blackberries. There were tiger lilies on the cliff sides, in amongst the great green tangles of wild grape, blackberry, green brier, poison ivy, raspberry, honeysuckle, and milkweed. As we walked, the day turned overcast and cooler, as a mist began moving up from the direction of Point Judith, sweeping over Narragansett Bay. I found a sheltered cove where I intend to swim, despite the especially steep path down to the rocky beach.
But all the time we were out, it was impossible not to think about the Gulf of Mexico and the BP petrocalamity. It was impossible not to think about how easily we could lose the bay. One really bad tanker spill. There was a bad one at Moonstone Beach, back on January 19, 1996, when the tank barge North Cape and the tug Scandia grounded there. This was nothing remotely in the range of what's happening in the gulf, but, fourteen years later, there are still plenty of signs of that spill, including thick rubbery hydrocarbon mats between the rocks at Green Hill. It was also impossible not to think of the fact that we drove about 70 miles, round trip from and back to Providence, to have that day on the island. That's roughly 3.5 gallons of gasoline, refined from a well somewhere in the world.
Back home, Spooky made a cold dinner (my appetite has been off for days) of chicken, feta cheese, cucumber, watermelon, and olive bread. I was a bit groggy from all the sun. We spent much of the evening with the PlayStation. Spooky played Folklore and I played Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction. I've really missed the lombax. Later, she looked at a craft magazine my mother sent her, and I browsed through Martin J. S. Rudwick's Worlds Before Adam: The Reconstruction of Geohistory in the Age of Reform (University of Chicago Press, 2008), but I was too bleary to actually read.
Oh, Vince sent me the pencils of his illustration for "Tidal Forces," and it's gorgeous. I'd feared this story wouldn't be amenable to illustration, but I was wrong.
Also, may I refer you to catvalente's (Cat Valente) "5 Reasons You Should Not IM Me," because I couldn't have said it better myself, and now I do not have to try.
And here are some photos from yesterday:
Stone and the sea (view to the northwest).
Cliffs of Cambro-Ordovician strata (Fort Burnside and Jamestown formations).
View to the southwest and Narrgansett Beach, as the mist moves in.
Fairy trails (view to the east).
The cove where I'm going to start swimming, about .36 miles north of the point (view to the southwest).
Tiger lilies above the shore (view to the southwest).
One of yesterday's rabbits.