Monday, July 10, 2006

A Trip to the Marsh

I finally got my kayak out yesterday. It's been in the basement since September 2004--my spare kayaking time last summer went to wedding planning instead. In the intervening year, a spider had decorated it with a fascinating tubular web that I genuinely hated to hose off.

My kayak's not a fancy-shmancy piece of boating equipment, unless you consider safety-cone orange plastic the height of style. But it's visible (extremely) to motorboats, can be dragged over sand, weighs only 30 pounds and very nearly fits inside my car.
Obviously, lugging a wet, sandy kayak home inside your car isn't optimal, but I'm too short to ever be able to get the thing on top of my car alone. This way I can go kayaking whenever I want, not just when there's someone around to help me fasten the boat to the roofrack. I just have to rig up a way to keep it from sliding right out the back of the car when I go over a bump (like it did yesterday).

Luckily there wasn't a car within miles. I am not the first person in my town to have something obstreperous fall off the back of their truck. If you come to visit me, I'm just saying, don't tailgate. I think because it is a fairly sleepy town, people (you know, like me) think, well, I'm just going across town, I don't really need to tie this down.

I never said it was an especially smart town.

It wasn't the best time to go kayaking--high tide on Sunday morning brings all the motorboats, and the greenhead flies were biting. But it was great to finally be back out on the water.

The marsh is kind of fascinating to poke around in, lots of little inlets

and sandy beaches where tiny shorebirds forage for food.
There's a constant cheeping in the marsh as the birds chat, but if the cheeping becomes especially frantic you know you have ventured too close to a nest. At that point, hasty backpedaling becomes necessary, or you'll be divebombed by angry shorebirds. Some of these birds are large, and they all tend to have long, sharp bills ideal for cracking open clamshells. You really don't want them coming at your head.

Speaking of large scary birds, there's an osprey nest in the marsh, chock full of ospreys:

and across the inlet from the ospreys is a duck blind for hunters.

There are houses out in the marsh, too. This one belongs to the local evil bitch grande dame.

This one belongs to my friend T. (This picture was taken a few years ago, when the house was looking better).

There was a boat parked at the dock, and I could hear voices inside, so I stopped to see who was there. It was another friend, C, who is patching up the holes in the wall and replacing panes in the windows. Last year's storms left the place about one Nor'easter away from disappearing into the ocean.

And I thought to myself, what are the odds that you would run into someone you know in the marsh? If you had told me this would happen ten years ago when I moved here, I'd never have believed you. So many people move to a town and set no roots down. But I volunteered for a town board right off the bat, and I swore I would never commute to Boston. At some points, I've had to work three local, part-time jobs to make ends meet (and my hubby still moonlights). I often work six days a week; my husband, seven.

When I made myself that promise, I thought I was just sparing myself a hellish commute; I didn't realize I was tying myself into a community. Sure, I'd make a lot more money in Boston, but I wouldn't have to time my trips to the Post Office to keep them from being two-hour-long social calls. And I wouldn't run into friends in the marsh.

Sometimes I do wonder if the trade-off was worth it. I think to myself, gee, if I just sat in my car for 4 hours a day, we could afford that Caribbean vacation. Is living in a town that's your home really that important?

But I have to admit, sometimes it is. Sometimes running into a friend is the highlight of your day.


Carole said...

We were in your town last Thursday night and drove out to Saquish. I've never been out there before and was surprised at how remote it is!

margene said...

The benefits of not being in your car for four a day are so great. Good for you in following your bliss. Can you imagine dropping a kayak in Boston and not having it exploded all over the road within seconds!?

Cheryl said...

What great pictures! Brings back memories of when I was a kid, my sisters and I used to take the canoe out in the marsh on PEI. That was fun.

Kat said...

Yes, it's worth it. I wish I had a marsh and a kayak to explore it in.

Beth S. said...

What a splendid sentiment. I'm glad you stuck to your principles, and I'm sure you are too.

Kate said...

I share your thoughts exactly! I love being so tied to a community, knowing that I can't even go to the grocery store without seeing someone I know. I rarely got that living in Portland. I too could make more money working in Portland but is a 2 hour round trip commute really worth it?? Not in my book!

Sorry we'll miss you this weekend!

claudia said...

Smart girl.

JessaLu said...

Beautiful photos - thank you for sharing :o)

Laurie said...

Go back to the commute, make more money, so you can vacation like you live, for two weeks a year? Heh. Don't change a thing.

Kellee said...

Good on ya!

also? for the car roof thing, if you're interested? one word: hullyrollers.

it's the only way i can ever load my boat onto my car by myself. it's long and i'm short. wheels baby, wheels. ;)

maryse said...

yeah the boston commute is a bummer. one day i won't have to do it either. i miss not being part of a community.