DECEMBER CONTRASTS.....The past few days have been a study in contrasts. This report begins with the serenity of Totman Cove in late afternoon. The sun was setting, but the glow of the pre-sunset colors enchanted me. The water was gentle as it came ashore, licking the sand while depositing remnants of ocean inhabitants. One other hiker was on foot with two frisky dogs. We shared the space while not infringing on each other's activity.

After that pleasant interlude, we had a fierce rain storm accented with high winds. It was the kind of weather that turns umbrellas inside out, and keep people like me indoors. That all passed, and I was out on the island trails again the next day. The rain made the trails waterways and filled low spots. Though I didn't take a picture of it, there were evidences of reverse erosion. Instead of the waves chiseling the beaches, the water washed down from the island creating steep gullies. To witness this action is to understand where Spring Beach gets its name. There are springs overflowing that flow like waterfalls down to the sandy beach. I'm always struck by this effect. The wind was coming out of the west, and you would have had to be brave indeed to ride the high waves. Even the gulls were absent, or had escaped to the calm of the harborside. Crashing surf created piles of foam that either collected like piles of cotton candy or blew in puffs up the beach. Come to think of it, what we saw was Cotton Sandy! There were no boats out at sea, and no doubt lobster traps were straining at their buoys. No wonder the beaches are littered with remnants of the lobster industry.

We checked the lobster pound which was filling up with incoming tidal waters. The rush of the tide, created its own aeration for the confined crustaceans. The water was too deep to see the animals lurking in their confinement. Later, we found remnants of a huge lobster that fell victim to some kind of calamity. Its shells were thrown atop the compost pile. How would you like to add lobster shells to your compost?! There was one appendage that I separated to puzzle your mind. Here it is. It is covered with hairs, and has an interestinng comblike set of teeth. This is one of the tools used to sense and handle food as it is directed toward the mouth opening. Those teeth you see help chew the food. It is the Third Maxilliped and naturally has an attached gill, that has dropped off. Next time you eat a lobster, take some time to separate the many appendages. I have a feeling that very few people take the time to even look for its mouth!

While we sighed over the demise of the lobster, several deer peeked at us. We counted 8 of all sizes, including what may be those twin fawns that were born last spring. All of these animals survived the hunting season, though I'm told we have another week of musket hunting. There are far fewer of those hunters, so the end is in sight. All of the deer we saw looked well fed as colder and harsher weather lies ahead. We understand a large buck made it through the hunting season, so the prospects for more fawns, and finding a dropped antler gave our spirits a boost.

So from the calm of a tidal cove at sunset to the windy, foamy, beaches .... like the deer, we seek places of serenity and the assurance of wildlife's survival for seasons to come. Pardon me, while a pick a tick off my pants....I guess there are several sides of looking at these natural matters.

12/2/04 Surviving Ronnie.
PS. We just had another snowstorm...stay tuned!