Saturday, August 18, 2012

Musings on sweet August

It is the best of times – it is the worst of times.

August is at its glorious apex, but we are in the waning days of summer.

Every year at this time, I drag my feet in Fogland sand, trying to hold onto summer before it slips away.

Nineteenth-century New England Poet Celia Thaxter described the season best: “The jeweled sea and the deeps of the air, / All heaven and earth are good and fair, / Ferns at my feet and the mullein’s spike, / And the soaring gull I love alike; / With the schooner’s grace as she leans to the tide, / The soul within me is satisfied.”

I buy blueberries on Pond Bridge Road and bake up a batch of muffins studded with blue orbs, nurtured in Fogland soil and ripened in salty air.

My husband cannot fish enough. When he is not at work, he is pushing his boat off the trailer into the Sakonnet, cranking the engine and puttering over to the sweet spot. He anchors, baits the hook and is happy, whether the fish are biting or not.

Last week he caught a large flounder, a rare catch in these waters. Flounder were as plentiful as scup when I was a little girl.

I remember the day Grandfather took us, his five grandchildren, to the coastline near Railroad Bridge where we had a fishing contest, the girls against the boys. There were two buckets, and Grandfather could hardly keep up – taking fish off the line and baiting hooks. In no time, the pails were filled with flounder.

I cannot remember the winners, but I guess we all were. My mother fileted them, her favorite fish, and we feasted on them.

Walking toward the salt marsh, I marvel at the reddish-orange rose hips, the fruit clinging to the beach rose plants. They are especially beautiful this year, the color reminiscent of a Fogland sunset.

Rose hips begin to form in spring but ripen now in late summer. Resembling a small crab apple, they provide sustenance to all sorts of creatures.

I grab a handful of sand and let it slowly trickle through my fingers.

I wonder how these grains can support the bushes that produce luscious hot pink flowers and an abundance of edible fruit.

The wind picks up and the Fogland Marsh Preserve mimics the sea, a rolling wave of green with red dots.

I walk away reluctantly, as each footfall sinks in the sand.

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