Metropolitan Homesick Blues

Southampton Stories & Other Stuff

Archive for June 2008

Southampton Beach Walk

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From the Big Flag to Jerry’s Frys its the same story…there are more seagulls on the beach than people.

Here we are a few days past the Summer Solstice, on a brilliant Sunday afternoon, and only a few weekend people are out on the sand. They are mostly families with children. Some are giving the swings a good workout. Others are working on their sandcastles. A few young girls, the ties on their bikini straps undone, are getting a head start on their tans. The only ones in the water are young children who obviously know no fear. We’ve had nothing but cool weather and rain for the last little while. So, obviously the water is still cold.  

Other than that, tourists stroll our cement boardwalk enjoying the breeze and the sunshine. Everyone smiles. A friendly “hello” greets you from perfect strangers. I wonder if summer people are as friendly back in the city as they are here on the beach?

My ‘wooden water serpent’ still sits off the point by the harbour watching over the beach. It hasn’t moved all winter surviving ice and wind, as any good serpent would.

Morning mist rises on the lake and the river. Out on the horizon a grey band of fog sits waiting for wind to lead it in to shore.There’s a hell of a racket coming from the bird sanctuary on Chantry Island. A trio of Seadoos zip by adding their noise to the cacaphony. Off in the distance silent sailboats take advantage of the wind. A couple of kayakers bounce around in the slight chop. And yes – there’s a bit of a line-up at Jerry’s Frys.

The only real excitement are the fire trucks a few blocks up from the beach. The police have blocked off the street. We arrive to see them rolling up their hoses. Seems one of the old cottages had a bit of an electrical fire. We don’t know the extent of the damages. Makes you wonder how old and in what kind of condition some of those old, original cottages are. No wonder city-folk replace them with monster beach-homes when they buy them up. Not all the cottages and summer homes are occupied as yet. But, come the first long weekend it will all happen.

We enjoy the tranquillity of our walk…for now. Soon the beach will be crowded. The tourists and summer people will claim it as their own. Then they will spill there contents out over the sand staking out their territory…”this piece of beach is mine…put your umbrella somewhere else.”

But, that’s the way it is in summer towns. The locals enjoy the beach as well and patiently wait for fall when it will be empty again.

 

 

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

June 24, 2008 at 8:54 PM

Posted in thoughts, Writing

SEPTEMBER SKETCH*

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On crisp September sunrise mornings mist floats from farm fields as grey-decaying, falling down barns stand stoically against the ages. Ambling slowly from pasture to fence edge cattle play follow-the-leader, their breath hanging in the cold morning air. Backpack laden, school-bus-waiting children at end-of-driveway-shelters stand self-absorbed in their own private world. All along dew-drenched, empty county roads once summer green corn fields have turned to autumn gold their harvest taken, their stalks ploughed into clods of brown earth providing an unseen harvest for gulls and geese. Come September the sun shifts its path in the evening sky. At infinity’s edge lake sunsets come earlier where the water meets the horizon. Wind ripples the surface of the fast running river as salmon push their way in from the lake towards the daunting dam. Along the empty wet sand shore, waves wander in with the wind to ruffle rocks at beach edge sending them clattering and clacking, stone over stone smoothing and shining one another. Summer has slipped into autumn while northwest winds strip the colour from tired trees. The serenity of September settles on Southampton.

I have been given the gift of seasons.

I take it with gratitude and humility knowing it is given without debt.

 

*Written last September (obviously) A little early in the season, but, over the last three weeks it has felt like September up here. Posted on the first day of summer. I like the irony of it.  

Ed

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

June 20, 2008 at 8:52 PM

ROAD KILL

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What is it about the open road that turns animal into suicide bombers?

They don’t wear the IED vests, but they do have a tendency to rush headlong across highways oblivious to anything other than making it to the other side. The ones that don’t, end up flayed and flat on the ashphalt, food for crows, ravens, seagulls, turkey vultures or some other animal.

Skunks, groundhogs, raccoons, turtles, and the odd dog and cat are the usual victims. Deer and moose (in and out of season) count as road kill, but they make you pay. Hitting one of them means major damage and sometimes you end up in just as bad shape.

Normally you drive by or around road kill without paying much attention. You’re careful not to run over them again simply because its a messy thing to do. More often than not the sight of it leaves you wondering why the killer (i.e. driver) didn’t bother to take evasive action.

Well. I know why. Because I’ve just gone through the scenario more than once.

The first time involved a mother raccoon and her kit. I saw them scoot into the middle of the Sauble Parkway and stop. Braking as hard as I could, my SUV came to a halt just as mom made it to the safety of the bush. Some mother…abandoning her child. She called for it. But, instead of running to safety, it ran under my truck. With traffic whizzing by me, inconsiderate drivers leaning on their horns, I put my life in danger, and coaxed the little beast out. It took a while. Mom never thanked me. 

Second time, on the same road, a flock of ambling wild turkeys in no great hurry, tested my defensive driving skills. Did you know these big birds can fly?

More terrifying was the cat I didn’t see…until it was too late! I looked up and there it was playing road runner to my coyote. Thank God for ABS. Too bad for the feline.

My other cat encounter was not as gruesome. The old adage about a black cat crossing your path tested my brakes one more time. He made it. I left a lot of rubber on the road. Good thing there were no cars behind me.

Then there was the big, white, dirty, old dog strolling up and down the gravel shoulder on Bruce Road 3. I stopped. He stopped. I asked him if he was lost. He shook his big head and let out a soft grunt, after which he walked away completely ignoring me. On the way back we ran into each other (figuratively) again. He was on the other side of the road. Safe. And very nonchalant.

Is there a point to all of this? Not really. It just amazes me that I would experience such a run of near-death experiences.

These creatures think they are impervious to heavy metal. They’re fearless. They never get stopped by the OPP. And they’re convinced they have the right of way.

Pay attention and drive safely.

Written by metropolitanhomesickblues

June 5, 2008 at 9:58 PM

Posted in thoughts