Anne Notations

Saturday, April 16, 2011


April weather report: Windy and unsettled.

This winter and early spring have brought high winds and high seas to our peninsula, driving the geese farther up Brushneck Cove at times and the bay's detritus up onto our narrow strands. The dogs and I walk the shore three times a day regardless of the weather, so we see these salty offerings in abundance.

A beached jellyfish the size of a luncheon plate lies next to a large, gutted Canada goose carcass. Crab legs jettisoned by seagulls as they gobble the creatures' living meat in midair festoon the high-water line of drying seaweed (and, at least once, appear eerily on our front walkway). I have successfully taught the dogs the commands "Leave it!" and "OUT [drop it]" with the help of their e-collars, and thankfully both have abandoned their offal-eating ways when we're out walking. Goose poop is the latest "treat" they've learned to eschew. Whew!

Last week after winds and waves churned the cove's waters and dumped an unusual bounty of shells, glass shards, and fish skeletons on the sand bar, I saw a glint of glass at my feet and pulled from the wet sand an old half-pint milk or cream bottle. It's from the Norman I. Turner dairy, formerly of Pawtucket, and on its reverse it bears the imprint . A friend who collects old bottles says it dates at least to the 1940s. The thick glass is unchipped or -cracked, marred only by minor scuffing from grazing the Bay's sandy bottom for decades. I scoured it and will keep it as a small flower vase – my unexpected gift from the sea and from the past.

Our most spectacular post-storm discovery was an enormous green channel marker that came to rest on Oakland Beach near Iggy's. The dogs approached, barking, then examined it up close. At home, I notified the Coast Guard via web form, and within hours I received a phone call from a nice young man who thanked me and promised to send a truck for the buoy so it could be reinstalled in the bay.

Two evenings ago, in light rain and fog, I spotted a figure standing near the old retaining wall at the tip of our southwestern point. We got closer and I could see it was a young woman, perhaps 17 or 18, wearing a down vest but no rain gear or head covering, staring at the sand. A backpack lay near her feet.

The dogs and I returned from our walk to find her still standing in the same manner. My motherly instinct told me this girl was troubled. I called out, "Are you OK?" She glanced over and said, "Yes, I'm fine." I didn't believe her, but I could see she wanted to be alone. What sorrow had washed her up on our beach and left her there, soaked and solitary?

It is hard to know when to be persistent in offering help. I decided if the girl were still there in an hour, I would walk back out and offer to listen or to bring her somewhere warm. But by then she was gone. Peace be with her.


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