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"The sea was wet as wet can be."

Congratulations to all the Hugo Award winners. I just saw the list. I am especially pleased to see the novel tie between Miéville and Bacigalupi, and also the wins by Peter Watts, Ellen Datlow, Clarkesworld, the screenplay for Moon, and Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars. Well done.

I wish I'd have known that updating my OS to 10.6.3 renders Photoshop 7 useless. But I didn't, and there's no use crying over spilled pig intestines. So, I just have to root out a cheap replacement for Photoshop, and quickly. Spooky's pointing me to several possibilities.

A huge thanks to Joah for sweeping in and getting the PDF for Sirenia Digest #57 done yesterday afternoon. Sorry the issue was delayed. This morning, everyone who's a subscriber ought to have it in hisherits inbox. If I do say so myself, I think #57 is an especially strong issue. Comments welcome.


Yesterday was just shy of a perfect day. About 3 p.m., we left Providence and drove to Conanicut Island, where we spent the late afternoon. We bypassed Beavertail, figuring there would be too many people, and went instead to Fort Wetherill at the southeast corner of the island. We hiked out to the great granite bluff that affords a spectacular view of the lower bay, and to the west Beavertail, and to the east Aquidneck Island and Newport.

The sun was a white ball of fire, and the sky was the bluest blue imaginable. The sky would have shut me down, so carnivorous was it, had the sea not been there to keep me grounded. The wind up there was a fury, buffeting us, blowing so hard that the gulls could make precious little headway against it. Below those granite bluffs, not far from the ruins of the old fort, the sea hammers at the rock as it has hammered for tens of thousands of years. It roils and shatters itself. It's the color of green-white milk glass. The drop's about seventy feet down to the water. If those bluffs have a name, I cannot find it on any map, so I've named them, and the tumbling sea below, the Crucible. I watched an enormous tanker pass the bluffs on its way out to the open Atlantic.

The rocks here are a porphyritic granite of uncertain Late Proterozoic age. This granite was formed by an intrusion of magma, which cooled very slowly, allowing some crystals— the phenocrysts —to grow larger than the groundmass. The granite is shot through with veins of white calcite, some five or six inches wide, and here and there are layers of the older native shale that the magma pushed aside and partially melted. The granite is razor sharp in places, and you must pick your way across it with great caution. The cliffs are clothed in scruffy green, great thickets of bayberry, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry, and too many others to name.

Later, we headed farther east, to the beach at West Cove where we usually collect glass. But the tide was so high in the wake of Hurricane Earl that the beach was entirely submerged. From there we went further east still, to the area once known as Dumpling Rock. In 1798, a fort was constructed here, which was occupied during the Revolutionary War, in turn, by the American, British-Hessian, and French forces. The fort sat abandoned until 1899, when it was renamed Fort Wetherill and fitted with long-range. breach-loading rifled artillery. Sadly, Fort Dumpling's earthworks were entirely obliterated in the first few years of the 20th Century, during the construction of a more modern fortress. Fort Wetherill was active during both the First and Second World Wars, then abandoned by the US military in 1946. Since then, it has sat empty, cement bunkers tagged by graffiti, overgrown, crumbling, concrete burrows for raccoons and foxes, skunks and coyotes. The northern edge of the fort houses a marine research station and a marina, and a couple of the old buildings are still intact. We sat there a while, watching anglers as the sun began to sink. We saw a man land an enormous flounder.

During the drive down and back, I read a great deal of Joshi's The Rise and Fall of the Cthulhu Mythos, mostly the chapter about August Derleth's "...heroic task of literary misconstrual...." I think we made it back home about 7 p.m. We didn't get to sleep until after four a.m., after reading much of Kristin Hersh's Rat Girl. Too much sun, but it was a fine day, all the same. There are a few photos:

Looking straight down into the seething waters of the Crucible.

Looking east towards the cliff where the first photo was taken, about seventy feet down to the sea. Aquidneck Island is visible in the background.

Another view of the base of the cliff.

Close-up below the cliff.

Extreme close-up of the granite, with the calcite phenocrysts plainly visible.

Spooky was about thirty feet below me when she took this shot.

A cove farther east, at the base of Dumpling Rock, where we hid from the sun for a while.

Inside the ruins of the fort at Dumpling Rock.

Concrete and rust.

All Photographs Copyright © 2010 by Kathryn A. Pollnac and Caitlín R. Kiernan


( 10 comments — Have your say! )
Sep. 5th, 2010 06:44 pm (UTC)
I favour The GIMP www.gimo.org which is free. The controls are very different but there is a way to do most the things photoshop does and a few things it doesn't.
Sep. 5th, 2010 06:47 pm (UTC)
Sep. 5th, 2010 06:56 pm (UTC)

I favour The GIMP www.gimo.org which is free.

That was alreday my first choice, but thanks.
Sep. 6th, 2010 05:19 pm (UTC)
I'm a happy GIMP user, for several years now. Which would sound a little odd out of context, come to think of it.

Saturday was indeed a perfect day for Rhode-Island-sea-shore-ing. I did mine down at Point Brenton in Newport, where there are also some spiffy ruins.
Sep. 5th, 2010 11:00 pm (UTC)
I had the oddest thought reading this: "This is how Josephine March might have lived if she was born in the latter half of the 20th century"
Sep. 5th, 2010 11:41 pm (UTC)

Not entirely sure how I should take that...
Sep. 6th, 2010 08:28 am (UTC)
Goes to state of mind...we were talking about reprises of Victorian novels here (Drood, Pride and Prejudice with Zombies etc) and there you were in your Katherine Hepburn-ish trousers talking about Sirenia Digest and it all fell together.
David Lemoine
Sep. 6th, 2010 03:19 am (UTC)
Those are beautiful photos. I miss the sea. I used to go with my family to Cape Cod every summer, but I haven't been there since I was like thirteen, so... fifteen years I guess. Though I was in Salem back in '04, but I didn't get close to a beach.

I second the GIMP as a photo manipulation program. I use it on my Linux powered laptop and it's a good program.
Sep. 6th, 2010 08:49 am (UTC)
I thought of you this morning while going to work, because of the *very* carnivorous sky we have today here, way too carnivorous for me. It is exactly the same as on your pictures.
Thanks for the pictures, this set I particularly like.
Sep. 6th, 2010 05:39 pm (UTC)
As always, your photos make me miss the sea and the shore fiercely.

( 10 comments — Have your say! )

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