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The Mast-Head: View of the Marsh

Wed, 05/18/2022 - 09:31

Dawn was cold again. Wind from the northwest rattled the windows and brought a chill to the house. April and May have been like this, acknowledging from time to time that it is indeed high spring, but mostly defying our expectations. There seems to be more wind than there used to. Maybe it’s the changing climate or maybe as we get older we notice it more.

Spring is a time for paying attention, noticing things. Along the road to Lazy Point, wild turkeys have been engaged in an extended mating season — all strut, no lovemaking, as far as I can tell. Toms fan their tails, drop their wings, and whiten their wattles as the hens, indifferent, peck the ground just past the edge of the pavement. Deer walk by then slip into the brush. Crows pick at something a little farther on, roadkill or a dropped bit of a sandwich.

There is a fox den in the dunes, a monumental structure, as far as fox dens go, with two entrances. When they were very small, the kits would hang around just outside their sandy duplex. Older and wiser now, they no longer can be seen.

Napeague Harbor rose up over the saltmarsh and stayed there for several days last week, pushed by a blow from the northeast and a full moon tide. Shorebirds of some sort, plovers, perhaps, waited out the storm on the few remaining patches of ground. A cormorant hunted for a meal in three feet of water, where usually there was none.

I don’t often take the time to look up the names of the birds I see in the saltmarsh, though I like to. Usually I am in too much of a hurry to get somewhere, so I note them from the car and drive on. I am glad they are there to see, though, quick reminders that we are not alone and that we are all part of something much bigger than ourselves


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