Saturday, July 17, 2010
It was a beautiful day today and through most of it we couldn’t figure out why we had no visitors. It was hot and humid on the mainland but there was a cool breeze here even though you could feel the sun was hot. Maybe they were all at the beach trying to cool off. A couple that had visited a couple of weeks ago came by, and France invited them to join us at the picnic table. I was trying to make tiebacks for the curtains for the doorways to the living room out of the fabric sample they’d sold me for fifty cents at the quilting store in Bath and France was trying to get dough to rise for croissant while cutting up vegetables from the bin we needed to use up, to go with the salad greens just picked from the garden for lunch. My tee shirt was already wet after sitting on the front porch in the morning sun suffering under a lazy internet connection, opening the tower and the gift shop, turning on the pump in the pump house and starting the water going in the basement filling up the second cistern, so I had taken it off and hung it on the clothesline to shield the sun at the picnic table. I pulled it on and tried not to be distracted by their little dog as it dashed about but ultimately settled in the shade under the picnic table at my bare feet. Even they noticed it soon enough. Zoe had been in some smelly stuff and would have a bath as soon as it got home. Meanwhile…
As the wind picked up and increased throughout the day, other visitors popped up from the cove. A young man who said he was a kayaker and his wife and mother came up and were very surprised at how beautiful Seguin is, while the dad stayed with the boat in the cove, before I headed out to try to find a cutoff on the South Trail to a view of the west we saw on the map but hadn’t found below the Whistle House. When I got back, windblown and sweating, and having found the view and two gull chicks who hang out on a rock ledge where they were born a couple of weeks ago, there were five guys who had sailed into the cove, all dressed in hats and shorts and polo shirts, up on the catwalk outside the tower thirty feet off the ground, with France, and four younger guys in the museum dressed only in shorts, who had swum ashore in the sixty-two degree water from their boat which they had tied to a buoy in the cove. All of the guys were local and one had attended Hyde School and made many trips to the island to provide labor for big projects. He said he’d run up that hill many times. They let me take their photo before they left. France had already taken them up to the light.
Unfortunately, the day saw no sales or donations. It seemed odd. Everyone seemed so grateful. Maybe they put something in the box in the outhouse in the cove. Everyone commented on the breeze on the catwalk they certainly didn’t feel on the mainland or even down below. It makes the trip worthwhile, always.
Never got to try the croissant. France wasn’t happy with them so they went into the trash. All I’ll remember is how great they smelled. She’d try to call me on the radio from the catwalk as I was chatting up the guys in the museum but all I heard was her calling my name. I stepped out to get better reception but could not make myself heard. Finally one of the guys with France tried it the old fashioned way and yelled down to me to turn off the oven. Okay so they were a little crispy but what could be better than a crispy croissant dripping with butter. Gone.
No one else did come up, although with the wind, we thought someone might decide to spend the night in the cove. It was after eight last night when three people came up with that plan, and hoping for a tour. The fried mackerel Drew gave us were warming in the oven and would keep until we gave the last tour, and they were delicious. But tonight we decided to snack on the leftover mackerel I’d flaked into the leftover tartar sauce and make piña coladas. There was something about the memories of our time in Vieques together and the cool breeze off the sea through hot humid air that made it seem like the right thing to do, after a long day in the sun on the beach in and out of the water, a ride in the jeep to Al’s Mar Azul for piña coladas to watch the birds dive into the sea, and to see the sun set.
When we finally decided to brave the wind by dressing for it, we were treated to the most magnificent bird ballet I’ve even seen. Like that guy who did his wife in here, because she played the same tune over and over again on the piano, France has threatened to do the same if I insist on photographing every sunset. When the sun had set (spectacularly, I might add) and the clouds were bright rose and steel blue, the gulls soared in the wind like a dozen kites hovering over the northwest just before our eyes. The wind was so stiff that they were suspended in the sky without any uninitiated movement. This is when they began their maneuvers. They took different seemingly choreographed places in the sky as though someone pulled the kite strings from the ground and changed positions. Two from within the flock flew up and dropped back and others swooped out and in and swirled back. There was a pair that did a mirrored loop that came together in a single bump (was one passing food to the other or just having fun; a kiss?). I didn’t see anyone fishing. In fact they all just seemed to be up in the air taking advantage of the uplifts and drafts that kept them suspended, for the sheer fun of it. The ballet continued as the entire flock dropped back to the northern end of the island. Soon they were back above the shore, between us, and the dying sun. The two who had bumped, continued to play as the others dropped back and out of sight. They couldn’t leave the dance floor. It seemed they didn’t want the moment to fade and neither did we. One swooped very low over us and circled onto the lawn. It was Oliver. Olivia was not far behind and the two of them moved slowly about the lawn. They must have been exhausted or thrilled or stunned, or just resting. We left them to a quiet night protected a little from the wind.
Inside was a different story. Before I went to bed I turned on the fluorescent light in the kitchen, which sometimes goes on and sometimes doesn’t. This time it did leaving me to discover ten or twelve hopping black grasshoppers all over the floor. I wondered where France had left the onion tart she made for Sunday friends who will visit. The one she won’t let me photograph even though she thinks it might be her best ever. Maybe I’ll sneak a shot without her permission. Then in the middle of the night I woke to the sound of howling wind and an intense smell of garbage. We have to find a closed container for that…