Looking up the harbor from the park at the boat docks at Mill Dam. This would all once have been tidal marsh, with its associated fish and shellfish and gnats and mosquitoes. Now there is usually a breeze _ pleasant in the summer, annoying in the fall and spring, brutal in the winter _ sweeping in from the North.
The various storms and tides have undermined the cement bulwark leaving a gaping hole which threatens to cave in at any time. The town, short of money as towns often are, “solved” the problem by putting up snow fence and sign falsely advertising “under construction.” A little white lie, I suppose, as we all use when necessary.
Even with rain looming, it remains summer and time for a few activities on the water. Kayakers generally don’t care if they get a little wet. Too bleak for anyone to test the waters in the swimming area beyond, here on Brown’s beach.
The proliferation of kayaks and other small self-propelled or wind-driven craft is a wonderful thing, much better than everyone needing an outboard motor or big yacht. Not only is it better for the environment, it seems far more picturesque for onlookers, and requires more natural involvement for those participating.
An almost tropical, wild view. One imagines hyenas in the distance and monkey chatter in the trees. But it is only outboard motors, the squawks of crows, and the other various odd noises of one of the most densely populated metropolitan areas on earth. Still, the dripping willow can fool anyone.
Some say pictures lie. Others claim they are worth a thousand words. Probably, both viewpoints (and many others) are true. Nothing encountered in life is isolated, and within the many layers and meanings evoked by any one particular moment need be without confusion, complexity, and contradiction.
The typical calendar shot taken by thousands of photographers who visit Huntington in search of something beautiful and picturesque but not too complicated nor hard to find is this view from near the top of the hill at Coindre Hall. It’s a Gold Coast mansion now run as a county park, with the lawn used by dogs, the refreshing woodlands a reminder to suburban hikers, the sadly run down boathouse (shown) and the ruined dock along the extensive and impressive stone bulkhead.
Non-family photographs of places are often like this _ something grand that everyone loves. Others are some little nook with light and color effects that the artist feels we should experience. Yet each is one tiny fragment of infinite beauty, which can only be experienced by actually being there and being open to seeing. Even more astounding, each minute, hour, day, year is different, no two identical. That is what I can finally appreciate.
Beach roses set off the drizzly mist and make the water seem wider than it does on a clear day. If you are so inclined, weather can set your mood and your perceptions, so that a grey day matches an inward calm, or a minor depression. If you are not, the weather means nothing at all. And what mood you get from any given view at any given time _ who knows?
We are constantly proud that we can predict things, but I cannot predict how I will feel when I encounter this little patch of water each day. Nor if I will even notice it. Science has great limits, and one of the worst is that it cannot truly deal with the chaotic and infinitely unreliable reactions of any person to their environment.
Inlet on the more-or-less freshwater pond behind the old Mill Dam. There are a lot of birds, migratory and otherwise, here during various times of year. The town owns all this as a park, but fortunately has not yet seen fit (nor had the budget) to “improve” it much.
Of course, these cheap cameras exaggerate. Everything looks both larger and smaller, and the lens curves things a bit. In a way, I prefer these devices where there are obvious flaws, simply because it reminds us that there are flaws in every device, that we sometimes do not pay attention to. A perfect lens captures a better picture, but no better captures the experiential reality.
Four O’Clock springing from the asphalt that tries in vain to keep the rising harbor tide from eating away at the road. This area has to be fixed up and filled in here and there every year or two after severe storms. It doesn’t help that according to reports the mean sea level has risen over an inch in the last two years.
I’ve always enjoyed the interactions and struggles between man and wild nature more than either by themselves. I am less interested in either wilderness or enclosed malls and tight urban blocks than I am in the garbage that gets into the wilderness, and the weeds that colonize marginal land. It’s the constant dynamic that fascinates me, intellectually and visually.