Saturday, October 17, 2009

Goodbye Rock, Paper, Scissors



Now I can say yes.

Since arriving in February I have been asked three or four times a week if there have been any big storms out here on the Point.  As of today I can answer in the affirmative.  A surging tide washed up along the walkway (pictured left) and even into the front yard on the harbor side.  Haley captured the 45 minutes or so of the biggest push.

This buzz began on Thursday night with as loud a wind as I can remember since the No Name/Perfect Storm of Halloween 1991.  Beating down the windows like a drumming octopus, the wind woke me up on Thursday with a relentless thumping.  It was as cool and as ominous as that moment in Jaws when the shark makes its first appearance.  Even with the wind however, there was no sign of any debris the next morning and you could still see from the windows.

Not this morning.  The cars were limed with salt and the windows are as cloudy as a shaken bottle of bleach.  I rinsed everything off this afternoon and came into the house only to find that my glasses, perched on the top of my head as usual, had been caught in the same spray in the time it took to spray the cars.  Most of the stuff in the yard that I thought might be threatened had been tucked away earlier in the week.  The couple of chairs that I had left out were blown over though and the wicker rocker we have in the yard must have done a pretty good dance to end up where it was.  The same kind of wind is expected tomorrow so maybe I will get a chance to watch another episode of The Rocking Chair Waltz.


Haley, her friend Kristen, and I went out after the tide and cleaned up - it didn't take long. The Highway Department came along and cleaned up the road so cars could pass safely.  There were people out checking out the waves though and when I saw one woman in her late sixties nearly break an ankles negotiating the walkway I had to do something about it.
That kind of thing sticks with me until I fix it. We got it back in shape but another high tide is coming again tomorrow so we tried to throw the big ones toward the house and the little ones toward the ocean.  Maybe tomorrow we'll only get the little ones back.

There is nothing like the power of the ocean. It rolls stones you could not pick up with a crane and tosses them with a grunt that female tennis players would envy. Five lobster traps are wrecked outside the window. Metal shredded by water and boulder and wind. Haley found a dollar in the debris which was in far better shape (all things considered) than the lobster traps. We are going to frame it as a momento.  Golf balls wacked out to sea rolled up into the yard along side what could be a four foot long fence post. It is just amazing to witness and study and ponder.

As kids we all mastered the game of Rock, Paper, Scissors. We had each gesture down and we knew the rules like we knew the sound of our mother's voice. No one ever had it explained to them; we all just knew it after one round of watching. We need to update it somehow. Somehow invent a new gesture. Something with both hands, both feet and a running start. Forget Rock, Paper, Scissors; Water trumps them all.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Messy Open House

Next Sunday is the date for fifth Open House of the year. Old Scituate Light will be open from 1:00 to 4:00 for tours of the cottage and the Tower.

This morning we had an Open House with a twist. As I gathered together recycling and trash for the Sunday morning dump run I left the runway door to the yard open and the runway door to the cottage open. A small white dog chased a gull into the yard and scooted by me into the runway. In a second the dog was in the cottage and I was wondering when exactly I was going to hear from the couple who had started out with this dog when they had left home. I found the dog in the utility room and began the cajoling to get it toward an open door. Fido zipped by me again and I discovered the pup in the living room on the small couch we have there. The next move was off the couch and back down the runway; I am following and closing doors as I go now to reign in the hound. The Tower stairs slowed the canine down and at last the curious guest was outside again where the owners began to call "Lucy" from outside the fence. I grabbed the collar at last as the pooch headed back to the runway door and walked "Lucy" over to the fence line.

I will leave the reader to guess the messy gift Lucy left me in the utility room.  I could go with pun after pun here but I won't. Provide your own in the comments.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Light the Candle

The Light is out tonight.

For the first night since we got here in February the Light does not shine out over the water. The bulb will be replaced in the next day or two but for tonight I will look out this window and consider what past keepers had to do to keep the light on.

There was an oil tank some 15 yards to the left of where I am sitting to type this entry. A keeper would make his way to the well and proceed from there to the walkway and up the stairs. 32 steps later it was two ladders to get him to the lantern room and the lens. My admiration for those keepers has grown and grown as I have been here. For those that took the walk to the far end of the big jetty I have an even greater admiration. That red light is doing all the work tonight as it did for the 134 years that saw the Tower light extinguished.

The wind tore a screen out of an upstairs window last night. In that kind of wind, in all kinds of weather, the job was to keep the light on for mariners. I miss the whir of it; the pattern can hypnotize. Tonight the horizon is an oil slick and the knock of the rocks is the only way to know where you are. Light the candle again; we don't take it for granted; we know what it does for us.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Maria

I was wondering what the noise was as I walked around the house picking up.

Bamboo grows all around the cottage and it is especially thick near the lanyard for the Tower flag. I took some time this week to cut it back and because once I get going I keep going, when I got to the ocean side, by the walkway that takes you out to the jetties, I heard a thrum like the sound a roaring bass makes as a car bounces down the street. I cleaned up the far corner, knocking down the weeds and the bamboo and improving the view from this desk, and as I walked back with my pile for the dump, I heard the same sound again. I could not figure out what it was.

The wind was blowing like crazy but I couldn't see a connection. It wasn't the roll of the rocks on the ocean side beach. It wasn't the trawlers heading out. I stopped to wrap up the hose and to hide it inside an old wash bucket that I use when the cameras are popping around here, when I heard it again. It seemed to be coming from inside the house, near the oil tank. I leaned against the storm window to take a peek and it stopped. I leaned back and it started up again.

The wind was hitting the house in such a way that the storm window was vibrating against the window frame. The angle was just right so that the frequency created the bass thump that I heard. I grabbed a screwdriver and tightened it up. Poof - silenced reigned. This place remains full of surprises after almost eight months.

An hour later the song came;

Away out here they got a name
For rain and wind and fire
The rain is Tess, the fire Joe,
And they call the wind Maria