Wednesday, June 11, 2008

A cormorant's green glass door

Yesterday morning when I awakened the world seemed to end at the bottom of the bluff. Everything had been white washed in a thick fog and the wavelets seemed frozen on the water. There was no definition to any landmark and no horizon line to give the eye perspective. The only visible features in this expanse of nothing were two pointed rocks, holding their heads above the high tide line. They were parallel to each other and slightly skewed from the bluff. Perched atop each rock was a single cormorant, gazing out at the world’s end. It seemed as though they were sentinels entrusted with guarding the passageway to another time or place. If the mighty, bold, or stupid could bring a raft thus far one bird would warn and the other encourage, and both would watch the soul slip through the gateway into danger.

You would have been able to feel the magic in the air. It was breathtaking. Then you would move to quickly to get a better view and get caught up on the air because it didn’t deign to move with you. That’s when you would realize that the world was cloaked not in a cool morning fog or misty after rain but the hanging, deadening cover of humidity that was impenetrable by the sun and impervious to the breeze. This is how magic dies.

I am told that yesterday it got up to 95 F in my area which those who keep track call a record high for the day. And while the previous day was warmer, ringing in at 99 F on my car thermometer, I was no longer in waders and the heat was less morally and mentally deadening. I suppose I should offer some space for the heat turning people stupid, but yesterday four people caught me in casual conversation and asked the same question. “Is it hot enough for you Jenn?” It took everything in my heat stroke damaged mind not to say, “No actually, I don’t start to enjoy myself until it is over 100 degrees and at least 95 F the shade.” This is rude and I did not say it. I told Meghan instead.


Saturday, June 07, 2008

Different Place, Different Weather

The air is still on this side street as it is throughout this history laden town. The dishwasher is keeping time with the traffic, and I cannot hear the sound of my own typing for the sake of it. The steady background hum is occasionally overlaid with a hurried siren or the bwap of a motorcycle speeding up, but the dishwasher chinks dishes in reply.

I have most recently been mixing, mashing and chopping, making a green paste for my supper. Now I am composing for my benefit and consuming the thick salsa for the same reason.

Try this:
4 zabocayo (or avocados or paltas for those otherwise traveled) mashed
1 tomato chopped
¼ a large red onion finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic pressed or minced
Heaps of chopped fresh cilantro
The juice from at least half of a lime
Salt and pepper to taste
Chop, mash, season and stir together. Serve with anything that will scoop including crackers and spoons. It doesn’t keep well so either eat it all or pack it up in the following way. Find the smallest container that will hold all leftovers. Flatten the surface of the mole and cover it with lime juice. Press plastic wrap tight onto the surface and otherwise cover the container. Do not use metal.

Less recently I was painting a living room in the same heat conditions. Earlier in the day you could more clearly see through the hang of humidity; however, sweat chose to flow instead of kindly evaporating. Curiously enough the paint was still drying almost as fast as it was applied. We managed to even out the streaky spots, cover the cracks, and blend all of the dirty shades of Previous Tenant Quick Cover Up into a uniform presentation of Arcadia White. The calming effects of solid color walls are amazing. Before the paint went up I did not realize how stressful and distracting the ugly patches of poorly painted wall mixed with dust bunny dirt were to my eyes. Now if only we could buy the paint for the kitchen to cover up the Smurf-threw-up-on-the-wall paint color testing patches. And maybe procure and air conditioner. That would be good too.


Sunday, June 01, 2008

Promised rain never came...

It is a few past eleven and a storm is rolling in. The winds are building in the tree tops and along the water. Down the bluff there are whitecaps seen by faint glints of light coming from neighboring houses. There is no moon nor are there stars. Unless the tide is out all of the way, water must be crashing against the rocks below, but it can’t be seen.

The storm is coming in fast. Fifteen minutes ago I walked from the other building and it was calm. I was temped to stay longer in the garden to look at the night blooming flowers, but there was an eerie feel to the air. It was not so much a chill in my spine as an overwhelming desire to be back inside. Perhaps the same unsettled energy is what hushed the frogs and halted the chirring of the insects. Or maybe what I felt was heard silence driving me indoors. Regardless, by the time I gathered my laundry and made my way upstairs the wind had begun. Now the sound of it against the cliff face and thrashing through the trees is drowning out the hollow iterations of the fog horn.

Scattered in patches of brush and trees between the well hewn banding trails mother cardinals and other nesters will be huddled against the coming rain. A night like this may promise respite from the dangers of sharp-eyed night fliers. And the rain will compliment the cranberry bogs and their swampy surrounds for the frogs. More water lends time for breeding and frantic tadpole growth. It will also pool in depressions too small for much else but healthy crops of mosquitoes. And while the adults feed on banders and other woods wanderers, they will soon become food for the swift birds, and any young that hatch in deeper water will supplement the diet of tadpoles.

But the rain is not as committed to this night as the wind. No thunder cracks through the trees or against the bluff as yet and no lightning has chosen to highlight the cloud edges. There is still time for the drops above to reconsider falling here before the wind blows itself into stillness. They may merely be waiting for a moment of peace and a vertical fall instead of a complicated, muddling sky dance. Or they may decide this watershed has not issued the proper calling and follow the wind further until they find a suitable resting place. Storms are fond of our befores and linger at our afters but they rarely pause here above us for long if at all. Who can know the mind of the rain? And who can map the lightning’s course?

5/30/08 Manomet

...The winds blew all the same.