White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Monday, April 30, 2012

Laughing Gulls, Bartlett Pond, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA


I don't normally try to photograph wildlife with a point-and-shoot camera since results are usually dismal.  Every once in a while though, the result is adequate.


This Laughing Gull and many of his buddies like to hang out on a sand/mud bar in Bartlett Pond and bathe together in the fresh water.  So I grounded a kayak in the shallow water and sat calmly until they forgot about me or decided I was not a threat and resumed normal behavior. According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, "Laughing Gulls are summer visitors to the Northeast and year-round sights on the coasts of the Southeast and the Gulf of Mexico."




They are pretty creatures but they sure are raucous. (Raucous is defined as harsh, strident, grating - actually that sounds more like a definition for modern-day politicians than birds but I'll save that snarky comment for another day.....)


Sunday, April 29, 2012

Dancing Wind, Bartlett Pond, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA


Here's my first shaky attempt at inserting an animated GIF file into a blog - needs a little work I'd say but, it'll do for a first time. I think it must work better if the camera is on a tripod.......

 Perhaps it's true that one cannot see the wind - but the "footprints' are clearly visible as it dances across the pond's surface on a gusty, brisk spring day.


Priscilla Beach, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA


Oddly, this photo looks to me like it was a computer generated 3D rendering - it's not - it's straight out of the camera - go figure. Inside each of these two double garages is a roundtable device built into the floor so backing-up is not required - really - the floor simply rotates the car in place.

The march of spring has progressed to the flowering of the  azaleas.....

...but this year-around green hedge keeps growing to take over the sidewalk regardless the season.


Saturday, April 28, 2012

White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA


In my mind, there are some house building styles that scream out quintessential "New England,"  I think this would have to be one of them: gray cedar shake siding, white trim, a modest, practical size .......

.....and sometimes a touch of quirky - in this case it is the off-kilter power poles. Helps contribute to this beach community's easy, relaxed feel - either that or it looks like an earthquake aftermath.

Low tide offers a wide sandy beach.....

....and azaleas bloom in the afternoon spring sun on quiet lanes...

and this Canada goose is wondering if he can climb the steps up the pond bank to reach the tasty grass growing farther up the slope before the humans or cat chase him away -  the humans don't like him pooping everywhere and the cat just plain doesn't like him.

It is great to be alive in springtime.




Friday, April 27, 2012

Libraries

What is it about a book?  The feel of it in hand, the story waiting to be revealed in its pages, the anticipation of entering into a new world in your mind, the sheer pleasure of finely crafted thoughts made into words.

According to random internet sources there are more than 120,000 libraries in the US. In FY 09, visits to public libraries totaled 1.59 billion, and there were 2.41 billion circulations of library materials.The Old Colony Library Network (OCLN), which serves my home area, is a cooperative of 28 member libraries located on the South Shore of Massachusetts. OCLN membership includes 26 town and city libraries and 2 academic libraries. OCLN’s cooperative nature enables member libraries to provide services that they would not be able to afford on their own. This network provides access to more than 800,000 books - for FREE to the reader (free is relative - of course somebody's taxes/contributions had to pay for the library system in the first place). Best deal on the planet!

Here's my neighborhood library. It is open four days of the week.....

...but I can return books anytime.

Call me old fashioned but I prefer the feel of a paper book in my hands. And when I nod off in my chair reading at night and the book crashes to the floor waking me, all I have to worry about is finding my page again.  With an e-reader, I fear breaking an expensive electronic product.  I hate to sound like a Luddite but I think you'll have to pry a paper-paged book out of my cold, dead hands before I willingly give in to technology on this point.

Here is the same book in both formats - I prefer the paper book.

And yes, I did try an e-reader.  I read four books on it.  It was pleasant, the typeface was very clean and readable, but I returned it back to the store for a refund.  Reading is tactile - physically turning the pages, riffling through past chapters to find and re-read a particularly poignant or important paragraph, seeing how many pages are remaining so I can pace myself to prolong the ending or accelerate it, taking books with me when traveling and then leaving them behind in random places for someone else's surprise reading pleasure. Or, the treat of stumbling upon an old scrap of note paper, or hidden money, or a pressed leaf or flower tucked in the pages. Reading is about more than just the words.

In the final analysis, does it really matter which method of delivery is used? Probably not - but I can read a book by candlelight or sunlight without ever having to charge a battery - I like that. I also wonder about the day when technology completely supplants the library system and the only access to the global repository of  knowledge is by paying some company who controls the ebooks to use them - seems like the wrong direction for a free society - too many Orwellian overtones for my preference.

I'd better stop now, this blog post is starting to sound like a cranky old man railing against progress and paranoid about government/military/industrial conspiracies..........

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Fire Department, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA



I don't think I'm the type of person who would run into buildings on fire to rescue people - but I'm mighty glad we have selfless lifesavers who will do that - the men and women of the Plymouth Fire Department. I had the opportunity to visit them recently with a small group from the Plymouth Digital Photographers Club. Battalion Chief and Training and Safety Officer Anthony Thompson showcased the equipment, techniques, and personnel of the Headquarters Station in downtown Plymouth.


When somebody calls 911 or pulls a firebox alarm - the firefighters come to help.

The dispatcher works from this control center to deploy the resources and coordinate with other agencies to respond to whatever emergency needs attention.

Here, in a relaxed moment, are a few of those able folks who keep us safe.

And yes, they still slide down the shiny brass pole if they are upstairs in their quarters when an alarm comes in...

...and at the bottom of the pole, they step into their boots, pull up their suspenders, put on their coats, and jump into the trucks ......

.....and away they go with their clean and well-maintained equipment.

On today's visit to the fire station, the 100-foot electric ladder looks nice extended against an empty blue sky - a sort of stairway to heaven - but imagine climbing this ladder with a raging, angry fire waiting for you at the other end, perhaps hearing the pleas and screams of frightened people trapped in the inferno above.

The Plymouth Fire Department is under the leadership of Fire Chief Edward Bradley who presides over Plymouth's seven fire stations with a personnel complement of approximately 125 firefighters. They respond to approximately 12,000 fire and/or medical events in a years' time - and of course, they never close - when we are at t-ball, or soccer, or recitals, or holiday dinners, they are at work, ready on a moment's notice to risk their lives for others.

Today's firefighter has the benefit of fancy hydraulic tools, the "jaws of life" that are used to cut through, spread apart, or ram open almost anything that requires super-human mechanical strength.

They have sophisticated trucks to manipulate and regulate the water flow to the right places.....

.....and the humble hose is always ready...

.....and also, the pick and axe.

Whatever the time or place or problem - they are ever-ready to work to save my life and yours - what a noble profession!

I extend a hearty "Thank You" to the men and women of the Plymouth Fire Department for what you do to keep us safe every day!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Spring, Harbor, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA


The boats are slowly returning to their respective harbor buoys after wintering inland, readying for the coming nautical season. Soon the throngs of visitors will enjoy the sunny benches overlooking the bustling harbor....

...the flowers are in bloom.....

..and the Captain John fleet is ready for the fishing and whale watching charter season. It is good to be in America's Hometown in spring.

And if I make myself really tall, I can see the sharp edge of the earth from Long Beach. (photo courtesy of Graham Custard).

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Retirement



One of the best things about retirement is that I am rarely in a rush to get somewhere - I can usually take the time to randomly stop and observe or make note of something beautiful about our world - I like that. After a lifetime of having to "be somewhere," it is wonderfully freeing to not have to be "scheduled" all the time anymore.

And very often, there is much beauty around us worth stopping to enjoy. I try to remember and look for it.

For example, these flowers were on a highway median, so I parked the car and got out and wandered around. "CAUTION! - old man in hat beside roadway behaving unpredictably."

So people have been asking me, "how do you like being retired?"  The answer in a few words is: "I like it!"  It creates a freeing and calming feeling. I can slow down and reawaken the childish wonder I seem to have lost somewhere along the road of growing up.  (Either that or my senility is kicking in.)

What did it all mean, a lifetime of work? How do I sum it up?
Retirement stirs up many complicated feelings and thoughts.  Perhaps the most noticeable change is the loss of my "work family" - you know, the people who, day in and day out, I spent more waking hours with than my own blood family.  We did a lot of good things together, my work family and I. Truly, I was fortunate to spend 30-years working in a profession with talented, capable people who did real work, work that was difficult, important, and meaningful, and they knew it and they did it with purpose and commitment. I worked with people of honor, people I could count on and who could count on me.

If I could share only one lesson with my now grown son about my lifetime of work, it would be this: always act with honor and expect it from others - everything else is secondary.

But enough philosophy - I am sure there must somewhere I could wander off to right about now..............


Monday, April 23, 2012

Spring, Bartlett Pond, White Horse Beach, Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA


A panoramic view of part of the pond - the petals have almost all fallen from the magnolia tree, now the greening of everything else will increase as spring deepens.

The goldfinches have arrived back in New England after their migration and they quite fancy finding a full feeder flush with black oil sunflower seeds to rebuild their strength after the long flight north. (Sorry about the shameless alliteration - I just couldn't resist).

Reflections in a cottage window.

And Milo, oblivious to the seasons, continues to believe he is a human baby, entitled to over-the-shoulder-and-around-the-neck hugs. This website by Catster however, says Milo is 64 in human years (if an indoor cat) or 104 years (if an outdoor cat) - he's definitely not a baby but, he sure does love his human mama - his daddy, not quite so much.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Random Sights, Bourne, Massachusetts, USA


Bourne is a town along the southeast Massachusetts coast through which most of the Cape Cod Canal flows. These photos are on the canal.

Rusty nail on a rail.

Workers performing maintenance on the 1933 Sagamore Bridge.  This is one of two road bridges that connect Cape Cod to the mainland.

A warped wooden railing at the public fishing pier.  The parking area for this pier is accessible through the Scusset Beach State Reservation but during the camping season, one must pay to enter the park. Free parking along the east section of the canal is available at the base of the Sagamore Bridge or at Herring Run on route 6.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Long Beach, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA


Plymouth's Long Beach hosts human beach goers, transient shorebirds, and regular annual nesters such as plovers and terns.  This three mile long peninsula extends into Plymouth Bay and provides barrier protection for Plymouth Harbor.

I joined an outing with the Plymouth Digital Photographers Club on this fine spring morning. The walk was led by Edmund Prescottano, the current photographic Artist in Residence for the Goldenrod Foundation.

Like most East Coast barrier beaches, sea grasses wave in the breeze while serving an important role to help stabilize the dunes and minimize sand movement.

Looking westward, Plymouth Harbor is visible through the gap. 

There were many shorebirds quite willing to pose for the photographers.

But if a human crossed some invisible line in the sand known only to the birds, the entire flock would take wing. 

I did learn that bringing a point-and-shoot camera to this type of outing is comparable to riding a scooter to a motorcycle race - same fundamental equipment but ill suited to the task at hand.  Oh well, it was still a spectacular day weather-wise to enjoy and share with good company. Long Beach is a special and beautiful place in Plymouth.