ALONG THE ATLANTIC COAST – Marilyn Armstrong

RDP Saturday: COAST

When you grow up in any of the coastal states in the U.S., “going to the beach” is at the top of your summertime list from as soon as you are old enough to tiptoe into the ocean, until you get serious about work and forget about having fun for the next couple of decades.

It’s not that you don’t go to visit the shore. We all do that, even in the middle of the winter, to see the gulls fly backward against the incoming winds, early enough to watch the haze burn off along the shoreline … and the best place to think quietly without any interruption.

I actually prefer the coast in the winter. It’s relatively empty, at least of people. The sky is a great blue bowl overhead … and when the wind comes in, the seagulls really do fly backward until they give up and sit in the water until the winds die off.

Atlantic shore in Ogunquit. Maine at dawn
Rockport, Massachusetts at sunrise
Gloucester, Massachusetts, home of the famed fishing fleet
Gloucester, Cape Ann – A famous place for shipwrecks!
Barnstable on Cape Cod

SOLITUDE AT SUNRISE

SOLITUDE | THE DAILY POST WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE


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Just before five in the morning. Ogunquit beach, Maine.

A solitary walker on the beach as the sun rises. A seagulls wait on the shore. It’s breakfast time for birds.

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I participate in WordPress' Weekly Photo Challenge 2017
I participate in WordPress’ Weekly Photo Challenge 2017

OUR LOVE AFFAIR WITH WATER by ELLIN CURLEY

What is it about water that so many people find endlessly fascinating and soul soothing? People pay top dollar to live in homes that have a view of water – any water – ocean, lake, pond, marsh, stream. Prime vacation spots are often on, in or near the water.

I love the sound of our backyard mini waterfall. I can also sit and look at it for hours. The sound of waves lapping onto the shore have been recorded innumerable times for relaxation tapes, sleep aides and comfort for newborns.

Ogunquit sea shore seagulls

People also love the feel of water; pushing through the fingers, falling onto the hand, resisting a closed palm, like in swimming. People walk with their feet in the water at beaches and swim anywhere they can, both under the water and on top. There are a plethora of gadgets to help you play in the water, from inner tubes to noodles, paddle-boards, beach balls, etc. There are also too many water sports to even try to list.

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There is a theory that our obsession with water is rooted in our time in our mother’s womb. As fetuses, we float in the uterus in protective amniotic fluid, gently rocked as our mothers move. We may even hear the sounds of swooshing water. Which could explain the universality of humans’ love affair with water.

But it doesn’t explain why only some people seek the water in many different aspects of their lives.

Personally, we choose to live in the woods — but we own a boat. Listening to water slapping against our hull is our version of Nirvana. Our boat is big enough so we’re not close to the waterline when on-board.

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So we have an inflatable dinghy that we drive around. In that, we are as close to the water level as you can get, like in a canoe or a rowboat. I can’t resist putting my hands in the water and opening my fingers as we ride through the water. I love the sound of the little boat pushing through the water, punctuated by the percussion bursts of waves breaking against its sides.

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I don’t have any earth shattering conclusions to make. I’m sure there are research studies out there on the subject. It’s just that I’m on my boat enjoying being on the water and wondering why it is so satisfying for me. I had a swimming pool and a pond during summers growing up but no one in my family went to beaches or liked boats. We were city folks who ‘roughed it’ in the countryside of Fairfield County, CT during our summer vacations.

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So I have no family history or childhood memories to fall back on, except the pool and the pond. Maybe that, combined with my primal connection with amniotic fluid, is enough.

LIFE’S A BEACH

On yet another chilly, rainy, grey day here in the northeastern United States, I remember beaches. Soft sand, sun, surf, and hot dogs with just a hint of grit.

BEACH – THE DAILY POST

WHEN UMBRELLAS FLY

Although I ran this about a year ago, it definitely speaks to today’s prompt. It has the advantage of being true and funny, my favorite combination. Beware of flying umbrellas!


Once upon a time, my father had a business partner. I don’t remember his name, but he was a big, bluff Russian who used to come over the house and make gallons of cabbage soup. He must have thought there were a lot more of us than there were, because my mother couldn’t figure out how to store so much soup, even though we had a full-size standing deep freezer in the basement and a huge fridge in the kitchen.

He and my father would go into the kitchen and produce these gallons of soup and laugh a lot. We all had to eat it for weeks until we were sure we were turning into little cabbages.

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Bob (or whatever his name was) was accident prone and an enthusiastic teller of stories, most of them about his own misadventures.

“So I was at the beach, at Coney Island” he says, almost shouting because he never said anything except very loud. “Very sunny. Blue sky. A nice day to take my mother to the beach, let her relax in the sun by the water. She is just settling down with her chair. And she asks me if I’ll set up the umbrella for her. I mean, she didn’t have to ask. I always do it, but she always asks anyway, like if she doesn’t ask I won’t do it. I took her to Coney Island, what did she think, I’m going to leave her to cook in the sun?”

We all nodded dutifully. Because he was my father’s partner and we were kids, so what else was there to do?

“It’s a big umbrella. With stripes. Red and yellow. I got it myself, on sale. Umbrellas are expensive and this was a good sturdy one and I paid bupkas for it. If you ever need an umbrella …” and he paused to remember what he was going to say. “Anyway, this was one of the good ones, with a heavy pole so it would stay put.”

We nodded some more. Our job. To nod. Look very interested.

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“I opened the umbrella and had to find the right place to put it because, you know, if it’s in the wrong place, the shade isn’t going to be where you want it. So I walked around a bit until I found just the right place. Then I took the pole and a jammed it into the sand as hard as I could and it went pretty deep. Seemed good and solid.”

We were still nodding. I must have been — maybe 10? — and had been taught to always be polite to grown-ups.

“What with everything looking okay and my mother settling down in her chair with a book, she looked happy. So I figured it would be a good time to get something to eat and I told her I would go get us some hot dogs — and something to drink. She said that was good, tell them to leave the mustard off because — she’s always reminding me but I know, I know — she doesn’t like mustard.

“I walked all the way over to Nathan’s — pretty long walk, all the way at the end of the boardwalk — because they have the best hot dogs” at which I was nodding with enthusiasm because Nathan’s does have the best hot dogs, “And fries. I got five, two for her — no mustard — and three for me. I was hungry,” and he paused to pat his substantial belly, “I started walking back. I could see where to go — I could see our striped umbrella all the way from the boardwalk.”

Nod, nod, nod.Nathans at Coney Island

“The weather suddenly began to change.  Suddenly. Big clouds coming in from the ocean. And getting windy. This was all happening fast while I was out getting the dogs. Funny how weather changes so fast at the beach, you know? So now, I’m almost there when up comes a big puff of wind. That umbrella pulls right out of the sand and flies at me. Whacks me over the head. Boom. I thought my head was gonna come off.

“I dropped the food and fell over. Like a rock I fell and just lay there. My whole brain was like scrambled eggs. They had to come and take me to the hospital. I was completely compost for TWO DAYS! Two days! Compost!”

Beware of flying umbrellas at the seashore. They can turn you into compost. That’s bad, especially if your hands are full of hot dogs.

BUNCHES, GAGGLES, HERDS, FLOCKS, AND EGGS

CEE’S FUN FOTO CHALLENGE: MORE THAN 5 ITEMS

Lots of things all together. What fun! How about a gaggle of geese?

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A herd of cows?

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A flock of birds?

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And, of course, flowers.

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And finally, the ultimate photographic challenge. Eggs. A whole dozen.

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BEFORE SUNRISE – A PHOTO A WEEK CHALLENGE: MUTED COLORS

A Photo a Week Challenge: Muted Colors

Color is an important part of photography. Some images work best with over-saturated colors; some work best with no colors (I love good black and white photographs). For this week’s challenge, I found a picture that I really liked, but was over-exposed. When I started working on it, I realized that if I muted the colors down, I was able to “save” the photo. And the result looks great and has a slightly nostalgic feel to it.

I love muted colors, the softer and more subtle the better. I had to make a decision. A hard decision. Two pictures out of 100,000.

Morning Mist

Both of these pictures were taken on Ogunquit Beach in Maine, in September. The time was just before five in the morning. It’s daybreak. Mist rolled in from the ocean during the night and has not been burned off by a rising sun. You can see these softest colors only during the earliest hour of light.

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