Time for a tease

Susan’s counter thingy says that the Cape May Weekend is just 15 days away and I hear that Lynne has already started packing and KatDoc is saving quarters for all the tolls on the Parkway… and I’m resisting the urge to visit ahead of the rest of the flock.

I’d really like to go now while it’s still warmish and the Monarchs and Buckeyes are moving through. I’m sure Bunker Pond is still full of egrets and that there’s plenty of Peregrines soaring past the lucky people crowded in the shadow of the lighthouse and Merlins cruising low over the dunes in the late afternoon. Have a peak at some of the most recent numbers here.

Rather than that, I’ll think I’ll probably spend the next couple weekends wandering around the Pine Barrens. October is a great month to visit and there’s lots to see and do with the beginning of the cranberry harvest there.

I just got distracted with the duck numbers in that Cape May link, sorry.

Girls… you’ve got to find time to visit the Seawatch at Avalon while you’re here… it’s such a spectacle! I remember standing out in the pouring rain on Friday of last year’s weekend, wondering why you all weren’t there with me to witness the tens of thousands of scoters flying past in the fog and rain. It was just unbelievable and very wet.


Something else we should all look forward to is more goofy pics of Susan playing in the surf. Though I suspect I may instead have my camera trained on Lynne as she dips her toes in the Atlantic for the first time.

So girls… what’s on your to-do-in-Cape May-lists?

Heather, you still in? John? Patrick? Patrick’s away on his honeymoon… what am I thinking?


Thank God we don’t have to do that

“It’s anticipation. Hope, you know. You’re always hoping to catch more fish, hoping to make a living, you know. And that’s what keeps people going. That, and not having to go up the road… I watch all the commuters, computerized people. They have their coffee and their briefcase or their computer, they stand in line waiting for the ferry or the bus. And some guy’s fallen sick, there’s a space, you know, like birds on a wire. I said, “My God, no matter how bad it gets, thank God we don’t have to do that, you know.”

–Richard Nelson, a fisherman with the Belford Seafood Cooperative

I found this quote from a local fisherman reprinted last weekend at the seaport museum and thought it worth sharing. Most people in this area that make any kind of money have to go to NYC to do it; they have the big houses, fancy cars and all the problems that come along with that lifestyle. I wonder how they’d feel knowing the clammers feel sorry for them.


Skywatch Friday

As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean.
–Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Sailboats and cormorants in the harbor at Keyport NJ

Autumn comes to the shore with an apologetic smile. Neither the sky nor the sea has even been as blue as on an October day. Before the winds tatter and strip the trees they first tidy up the sky, pushing the dust and pollen of summer somewhere off to the edge of the world. The sun no longer warms as much, the days are shrinking, another summer is slipping away.

Have a great weekend and visit here for more Skywatch posts.

Tickling the ivories

So far as I know, my mom’s piano – my piano, still sits in the garage of the house I grew up in. Something else we didn’t have the heart to throw away after my dad died and we sold the place.

It was a battered old upright even when I first began tinkering at it. The paint was chipped and fading, keys stuck and it was perpetually out of tune, most probably because it sat in the damp basement.

The basement was a good place for a piano student though, as it had a door that kept anyone unstairs from hearing me practice. My brother’s drum set was down there too, but the door did nothing to muffle the sound of his banging. I don’t guess piano practice is painful to listen to, except for the constant repetition, compared with say, the clarinet, which I gave up in favor of the piano. I was pretty bad on the clarinet; good at making those awful squeaky sounds, but not much else.

I took lessons for a number of years; I already knew how to read music fairly well, but then had to learn to read two clefs at once and cooordinate my eyes and hands to play both parts at the same time. It amazes me that anyone ever learns to do it; it’s that hard. I never could seem to practice enough to satisfy my very strict teacher and never did learn to play much beyond a simple version of Beethoven’s Moonlight Serenade. Eventually I stopped going to lessons, probably because of some boy…

My brother Brian seems to have the most musical talent of the bunch of us; if you think of drumming as requiring musical talent, that is. He plays the trumpet like my dad did, and the guitar some and thinks he can sing, too. What always got me though, was the way he could sit down in front of that piano and play songs just by ear. His fingers were in all the wrong places and he mostly jabbed at the keys, but he could play real music as opposed to those silly songs I had to practice or those awful scale exercises meant to improve my technique.

What about you – did your parents send you for instrument lessons? Do you still play? Like me, maybe you wish you’d stuck with it?

I’m still determined to teach myself the tinwhistle. Though it does sort of remind me of the squeakiness of a clarinet. Worse, so far.