These beautiful days of early fall begin to cool off sooner in the afternoon, with the sun setting noticeably earlier. The last flowers of the season are in bloom: the hardy seaside goldenrod, the purple and white asters in the fields and along the roads, and the groundsel, covered with their clouds of white fluff, at the edge of the marshes. The bounty of edible wild fruits is coming to an end, with only the Russian olive berries left to ripen.
Birds are collecting in their respective groupings and starting their migration for warmer territories. About eight great egrets have been sleeping in the trees near the swamp next to Dick and Daryl Knight’s house. I saw some of these big white birds with their all-black legs and long necks crooked as they flew from Cape Pogue in that direction. They are quite majestic-looking. Evidently, last fall right around this time, a number of great egrets were spending nights in these same trees.
The full moon at the end of last week caused strong currents for the ferry crossings and higher tides than usual. Skip Bettencourt and Nancy Hugger, who walk out on Norton Point nearly every day, reported big changes in the breach over the course of three days. The opening, which had been looking like it was starting to close up, had grown to probably 500 yards across on the weekend.
On Friday, Skip said the point of land on the Chappaquiddick side, where a hook made a little harbor on the Katama Bay side, had gone straight and narrow. The mooring ball that was in the little harbor ended up out in the channel. In the next couple of days, the tip of land became an island and then disappeared. The ocean is right up to the grass now on the Chappy side, while the Edgartown side may still be heading east.
The Chappy Book Club will meet on Wednesday, October 24th at 10:30 a.m. at the Chappaquiddick Community Center to discuss Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. All are welcome. You can call Dot Dropick for more information.
Mark you calendar for the next potluck at the community center which will be on Wednesday, Oct. 17. It will be a party in honor of Varian Cassat who has moved to Vineyard Haven.
As soon as the derby is over, Roy plans to start fall ferry maintenance. He’ll take the On Time II out first to do a yearly overhaul. Hopefully, then she’ll be fit to take over as the only ferry because after she’s back in the water, Roy plans to take the III out for about three weeks to put on bigger props, a new shaft and rebuild one side of the deck. The lines have been long in the afternoons and at other random times, so with one ferry on duty it might be a good time to be walking across to town.
A friend of mine told me this story: when he was living at Katama he would ride his bike to town every morning to get a cup of coffee and a paper and then he’d sit down by the harbor. One time an older couple came walking by and, looking toward Chappaquiddick, they asked what had happened to the bridge. It took him a moment to realize what they meant and then he said, “Well, the bridge was made of wood and the tourists cut off so many little pieces with their pen knives that the bridge finally just collapsed. It was too expensive to replace so they made a ferry there.” After the people had thanked him kindly for the information and walked off, his guilty conscience made him try to find them, but he couldn’t. Could this be how myths begin — by guys with time on their hands and caffeine in their systems?