Along with Scarborough, Crescent Beach is a go-to beach in the Portland area. Anyone in the Forest City looking for sand, sea, and surf generally ends up at one or the other. This mile-long stretch of white sand is just fifteen minutes from downtown—eight miles as the gull flies—and its neighbor is Two Lights State Park. All of which means it’s a hopping spot.
Crescent Beach is a pocket beach in an inlet—Seal Cove—between two headlands, and its shape indeed matches its name. The southeastern part of Cape Elizabeth, where Two Lights is located, shelters the beach from the east, and Richmond Island has it covered from the south. So it isn’t exposed much to the open sea and the surf is usually on the gentle side.
A barrier of grassy dunes separates the sand from a pine forest and these sandy ridges are busy with plovers and bedecked in beach roses in the high season. Rocks at the Two Lights end of the beach are fun to explore when the tide recedes. And the woods have a small network of trails connecting with nearby Kettle Cove State Park. It’s all very pleasant.
Monet’s woman with a parasol who’s no woman at all but an excuse for wind – passage of light and shade we know wind by – just as his pond was no pond but a globe at his feet turning to show how the liquid, dry, go topsy-turvy, how far sky goes down in water. Like iris, agapanthus waterplants from margins where, tethered by their cloudy roots, clouds grow underwater and on lily-pads, two by two, mayflies hover waiting for departure, she comes at a slant to crosswinds, currents, against shoals of sunlight set adrift, loans you her reflection.
I saw her the other day I don’t know where at a tangent to some evening, to a sadness she never shares. She wavers, like recognition.
Something of yours goes through her, something of hers escapes. To hillbrows, meadows where green jumps into her skirt, hatbrim shadows blind her. To coast, wind at her heels, on diagonals as the minute hand on the hour, the hour on the wheel of sunshades. Everywhere you see her.
Lorenzo made his way back down to the main deck, where the ship’s stove was located in a sandbox so as to minimize the chance of starting a fire that would imperil the whole ship. People were milling about noisily. Not quite sure what to do next, he stood there like a forlorn chef, without utensils and cooking accessories, until one of the ship’s crew approached him.
“Idiot! Who stands there in the middle of the ship like that? You’re in the way. Do you want to get yourself killed?”
“I am looking for the officers’ cook. Do you know where I can find him?”
“Who wants to know?”
“The captain, Don Enrique, sent me,” Lorenzo replied, a bit shaken.
“And why would he send you, Indio?”
Knowing that the term Indio—literally “Indian”— was a derogatory term among the Spaniards, Lorenzo simply replied, “I am the cook for the crew.”
At this the commotion around Lorenzo ceased for a moment and a hail of laughter battered his ears.
“The crew has a cook now?” the man asked rather cynically. “Why? What’s the matter? The last cook was not good enough so they send us another one we’ll only throw overboard as well? We cook for ourselves, Indio. Do you think we trust you with our rations?” The others joined in the jeering until the boatswain dispersed them all with a sharp blow on his whistle. Lorenzo’s hearing was momentarily impaired.
South Dakota—A scientist, using a vacant summer cabin as a blind, is treated to a rare viewing of a mother cougar and her three cubs.
My interest in wildlife grew out of a childhood passion. I always felt a deep connection to the wild. I knew I would spend my life continually seeking to know more about it. But when I saw a BBC film called Puma: Lion of the Andes, my focus became clear. In the documentary, the brilliant filmmaker Hugh Miles tracks and documents a female puma in the wilds of southern Chile. There are no settlements nearby and, in time, the feline comes to accept his constant presence and his ongoing observations. Eventually, she gives birth to a litter of kittens, and we see the family’s early life play out before our eyes. I was completely mesmerized from beginning to end. At the time, I had no way of knowing just how much this film would impact my life; I just knew I needed to know more about this amazing animal.
A few years ago I was working on a cougar research project in the Black Hills of South Dakota. One afternoon I got a call from the groundskeeper of a remote, vacant summer camp. He informed me that he had discovered a fresh deer carcass, presumably killed by a cougar, in the woods surrounding the camp.