Home Again

Yesterday, I flew home through the southern-most remnants of Hurricane Sandy. The flight was a bit bumpy, though not as rough as I had anticipated. I went to bed early and slept late this morning, then meant to spend much of my day in the yard, which is cluttered with knotweed and wind-torn leaves. But as I knelt in a patch of damp grass, acutely aware of the contrast between the yard’s October-cold ground and a breezy sky full of summer-warm sunshine, I changed plans.

The ocean was restless, tossing sets of foaming waves onto a beach swept flat and clean. I watched as a ship pulled out of the Chesapeake Bay, and I hoped that it was headed north, carrying help to areas devastated by Sandy.

Trying to distract myself from overwhelming images of flooding and destruction, I spent the next half-hour photographing pelicans.

Eventually, my phone chimed an appointment reminder, which I barely heard over the ocean’s tumble and growl.

My route to the appointment carried me past First Landing State Park, so I stopped for a quick glance at the Chesapeake Bay.

(That’s the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, in the background.)

I only stayed about fifteen minutes, and in that short time clouds swallowed the sun. I assumed these clouds were related to the storm, or to the cold front that fed its monstrous transformation into a super-storm. Either way, I returned to my car with a heavy heart, helplessly small and weak under such a beautiful, terrible sky.

First Landing State Park, October 11

I woke this morning with the urge to make an audio recording of frog song. Nature seldom cooperates, when my plans are that specific, and today was no exception. Yesterday, one of the park’s small ponds was a cacophony of harsh croaks and lyrical trills. Today it was mostly silent. Here’s why:

So I have no audio to share. Instead I have sunlight and woodpeckers…

First Landing State Park, October 10

First Landing State Park is beginning to feel the onset of fall. The osprey are migrating, leaving egrets and herons in charge. Grasshoppers carry on as if winter will never come, but the butterflies know better. They’ve disappeared, along with most of the bees. (I did see something that might have been a bee, but it also might have been a fly that wanted me to think it was a bee.)

Despite these changes, summer hasn’t abandoned the park entirely. Mosquitoes still bite and squirrels still play. Crabs forage while frogs sing a frantic final chorus. Turtles patrol the shallow ponds, their backs mounded with mud so that they look like curiously mobile islands.

And the sun is still strong enough to burn if you stay out too long. Like I did today. But I have a good excuse for my over-long walk and uncomfortable sunburn. I was chasing a kingfisher…

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From the Video Archives

My video skills suffer from lack of discipline. My hands are shaky, I tend to forget my tripod, and I forget to turn on the image stabilization feature. I’m too eager with the zoom, always wanting to get “closer”. The resulting clips feature subjects that drift and leap out of frame. The quality of these two videos is best described as amateur, with hints of motion-sickness.

Like everything else, I’m working on it…

Walking, March 28

Today I took a walk with sister-friend and fellow poet Kay Middleton. We walked further together than I would have walked alone, and I’m grateful for the extra miles. We sat on the beach a while, before leaving, where it was very windy and very sunny. Now I have sand in my pockets and twigs in my hair and a hint of sunburn–a happy trio of souvenirs.