Harsh blue stretching almost uninterrupted by watercraft, except for the Harbor Master boat which has to remain available all winter even if it eventually gets icebound. This year the bets seem to be on heavy freeze and nasty storms. Today is below thirty, and a northeaster is due tomorrow, so I suppose the early season is reinforcing those predictions.
Otherwise, of course, nobody notices. Up the hill from this tranquil scene, hundreds of kids are standing outside the Halesite Fire Station with their parents waiting for Santa Claus. No matter how bad the snow wind and rain the malls and stores will be open all week. Schools and businesses might as well be underground or on a spaceship. All in all, stormy weather is not what it used to be, hardly cause for concern, surely never life and death, and rarely even an inconvenience. That is, no doubt, a good thing.
As usual, these pictures run one day prior, when I was walking after my writing routines. It was twenty five degrees with a raw east wind off the not so distant ocean that cut to the bone and made it feel much colder. One of my acquaintances, who was stationed in Alaska in the sixties, claims that this cold is worse than anything he experienced at forty below out there. Of course, he was a lot younger then, and memories tend to blur with the years. On the other hand, that wind cuts quite bitterly.
Slate grey is in any case the color of the week. Today it is pouring, with more to come, and you almost need a miner’s headlamp to venture outside. Here the sea almost seems brighter than the sky. One clamming boat, whose owner works in all weather to bring in a fresh harvest around the holidays, when prices are often at their best. Tough way to make a living, lest we forget how just about everyone used to have to live _ and without the warmth and light to come home to that we now assume is our right.
No walk in the rain, flooding highways and setting records, so just fall back on an older picture. Is this dishonest? Not showing what should be a moderately current photograph with some little idea inspired by it? I don’t know.
As I get older rigid categories have relaxed a bit in my mind. I no longer see nature and humans as quite so distinct, nor good and evil, nor truth and reality. Sometimes the world seems so complicated as to leave me completely confused and helpless. Why, then, should I find that the same realizations also provide hope and a possible path to wisdom?
Swans ignore or do not notice a cold freezing drizzle that dims everything in the distance. I’m always amazed at what a change of a mere twenty or thirty degrees Fahrenheit can do for our perception of the world. Suddenly, in weather like this, it seems hostile and distant.
Nevertheless and regardless of my mood, everything is beautiful beyond description. That is a decent thought to begin each day, as the shrill worries of fragile civilization intrude endlessly.
Light snow dusting covers the kayak racks at one of the private neighborhood beaches. The entire week has been cold, dark, and wet, with an interesting surprise each morning for anyone who must go outdoors. The overall mood is little helped by the late sunrise and early sunset, if there were a sunset ever to be seen behind the clouds.
Yet I walk along with a smile, quite happily, greeting other regulars out to get a breath of fresh air, or walk their dog, or just enjoy the world. Most of the crowds who were around for a while trying to work off their Thanksgiving pounds have vanished for a while, although they will surely reappear with new year’s resolutions for a couple of days eventually. Dressed adequately, this is as rewarding a set of moments as any other, and certainly much more of an experience than trying to understand the world through colored LED screens.
Reeds already looking a little bedraggled dark against the sky. Noticed the sun is rising far south this week _ of course. It can be a strain to try to notice stuff all the time. I am grateful I now have the time to do so.
There are many philosophies of life aggressively floating about these days _ purpose-driven or hedonistic or wealth-related. The “good life” has lots of definitions. Our consciousness and experience is insanely complex: no single philosophy fits us at all times, in all situations, for each of our ages. But just as once in a while I now like to break out of my relaxed mellow vacuousness and achieve some goal, so back when I was always driven to accomplish tasks I fortunately found moments to breathe in the beauty of my existence.
Caumsett State Park is busy even after a snowstorm in deep winter, but there is room off the beaten path. Here on the trails through the woods, the leaves are all down and in place _ without the noisy help of yard crews and blowers and rakes and vacuums. The browns and blue of the sky are relaxing and integrate the cycle of the year with the rest of our memories. A few green briars or yellow leaves stubbornly resist the elements.
These trees, of course, are all new new growth. The ancient forest primeval was cut down in the 1700s by the first enterprising settler here, who sold the logs to Europe and the Indies. It grew back. The jazz age millionaire who wanted a farm leveled it once again. So little here is even a hundred years old. And yet, it is woodland, it is thick, and unless someone cuts it down yet again (or the oceans rise to cover these hills) it will be thick primeval forest once again.