Case in Point

No one has actually asked my why I go out to walk (or, in the old days, run) at 5 a.m. Today provided plenty of reasons.
The soft pre-dawn light lit the low ground mist around the Mill Gut, and I walked through a cascade of mist that flowed past the Coggeshall farmhouse, the ice house, and dissipated at the edge of the Gut.
At the top of Surprise Hill (runners find out why it’s called that, a seemingly innocuous rise that is actually a three to one ascent over 150 yards) I turn towards Narragansett Bay. In the half-light, a broad shallow vee of 90 to 100 geese approach from my left flying about three feet above the surface of the bay, heading towards Providence.
I was going to ask Ed, the teacher who is the anti-quark to my quark, walking my route the opposite way, if they had passed him as he rounded the end of the park. I saw him coming from about 3/8ths of a mile away, something not possible a month ago in the dark. Then I saw a big group of birds floating about 150 yards offshore and decided not to ask. Which, as it turned out, was too bad, because the birds on the water were gulls, not geese. Where the geese ended up remains unknown.
As I walk along the water, the sun is coloring the sky in the east, shining through the trees on the ridge line, oranges and yellows against the purples and mauves of the clouds and the light blue of the morning sky. A handful of small clouds above the sunrise shines with an intense yellow.
On the way up the hill to the defunct toll gates that mark the entry to the park I pass the five or six varieties of fruit trees that are blooming, each variety to its own drummer.
Joe, one of the other local geezers, has just broken into an easy jog as he approaches from the other direction. He stops and waits and we descend towards the head of Bristol Bay, congratulating each other on our good fortune to be out on such a glorious day. He breaks off and heads for town as I turn towards Poppasquash Point to return to where I parked the truck.

The salt marsh is greening now, and across from the Bristol Marina the weeping cherry I photographed a year ago is again lit by the rising sun. Nick, my former running buddy and now occasional walking partner, passes by in his Harley Davidson Edition Ford 250 and pauses long enough on his way to his spinning class to remark on the beauty of the morning.

Ed, the anti-quark, passes, each of us now headed in the opposite direction. Today our fifteen-word conversation remarks on the appearance of the sun after a week of clouds and rain. The conversation window is too short to adequately frame a question about the geese, so I let that go. The two donkeys are in the pasture across the road from the Bristol Yacht Club but the sheep haven’t made it out of the barn yet.
In the truck, I pass the Goose Lady on the way to Sip ‘n’ Dip. She’s the Goose Lady because for the last two years she’s chronicled geese in the early morning hours all around the top end of Bristol Bay. In the last six months she appears to have finally gotten enough goose pictures because she’s broadening her photographic interests to other fowl. The low, bright light of the sun makes the boat hulls on the harbor shine and sparkle, giving her a great background for whatever bird is in her sights this morning.
At Sip ‘n’ Dip the wait staff are carrying on patchy conversations in Portuguese. I draw an unfamiliar waitress and for the first time in months I have to repeat my order; medium black, no sugar. A medium coffee ordered without other qualifiers comes heavy on the cream and sugar. That and the ProJo (Providence Journal, now quite skinny) come to $2.97, up from yesterday’s $2.86. Next week I’ll find out if it’s a price increase or simply the new waitress.

* * * * *

I park the truck just the other side of this stone fence. The yellow blossoms of the weeds seem to float above the surface of the pasture. Taken Sunday, May 3rd and formatted 1920 pixels by 1200 pixels. Click for full view and download.

Coggeshall pasture

Coggeshall pasture

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