safe harbor

9.4.16.4310
9.4.16 ~ USS Truxtun found a safe harbor at Fort Trumbull Pier
New London, Connecticut

Tropical Storm Hermine is supposed to head out to sea south of us, sending us very little rain or wind. (Too bad because we could really use some rain here.) Of more concern is a predicted storm surge of 2-4 feet tomorrow and beach erosion. But Hermine delivered us quite a surprise yesterday, a huge guided-missile destroyer, seeking shelter from the storm.

Today we decided to take a water taxi across the river so I could get a picture of this huge warship. As it happened, three sailors from the ship were on the water taxi, too, and Tim got to talking with them while I was snapping pictures. After the storm passes they will be headed to the Gulf or the Med, which is sailor slang for the Mediterranean Sea. They are hoping for the Med because it is hotter than hell in the Gulf.

When Tim called their ship a boat they corrected him — they refer to it properly as a destroyer. We may think this vessel is huge but they said it is one of the smaller navy ships.

These fellows seemed so young, even younger than our own children. As we go about our busy lives, it’s so easy to forget that our nation is still at war, that so much is being sacrificed. Carry on sailors, and thank you for your service.

9.4.16.4330
9.4.16 ~ the USS Truxton dwarfs the Cross Sound Ferry
and New London Ledge Light

Whimsical Kingdoms

10.16.15.1226
Lieutenant River ~ 10.16.15 ~ Old Lyme, Connecticut

The theme of this year’s Wee Faerie Village at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme is Whimsical Kingdoms. Last week Janet, Kathy and I visited and had a lovely morning and afternoon walking through the outdoor exhibit, enjoying the cool, crisp autumn air and fanciful creations.

I love this time of year! We stopped for lunch at the museum’s Café Flo, where the addition of a cup of warm apple cider was a most welcome pleasure.

This year I was particularly drawn to all the earth tones and textures in many of the fairy castles. But we were also lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a colorful fairy! Following are a few of my favorites…

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“Brave” by Kristin & Tom Vernon
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“Whimsical Sugar Maple Castle” by Jared Welcome

Many years ago a sugar maple seedling twirled to the ground. Inside, a mighty tree hiding a faerie castle, hid inside. For seven and seventy years the tree grew tall, until the winds of Hurricane Sandy took its toll. It was time for the faerie tower to emerge. Coaxed out of hiding by chain saw and sander, this whimsical, yet sturdy castle “welcomes” all faeries fluttering down in search of shelter.
~ Wee Faerie Village: Whimsical Kingdoms

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“Sand Castle Extraordifaerie” by Greg J. Grady
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“The Wizard King” by William Vollers
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“Tiger Lily’s Village”
by Madeline Kwasniewski & T. Arthur Donnally
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“Thumbelina” by Nancy MacBride
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autumn sky at Florence Griswold Museum
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“The Woodland Faerie Kingdom of A Midsummer’s Night Dream”
by Tammi Flynn, Cheryl Poirier & Lisa Reneson
10.16.15.1462
“Jack & The Beanstalk” by Carol Hall-Jordan & Kathryn Stocking-Koza
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“Jack & The Beanstalk” by Carol Hall-Jordan & Kathryn Stocking-Koza
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“One Thousand & One Arabian Nights” by Pam Erickson & Sharon Didato
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“Tower of Baubles” by Billie Tannen & Robert Nielsen
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a Valkyrie hanging out in “Valhalla” by Amy Hannum & Laurie McGuinness

To view my pictures from past Wee Faerie Villages click on “Florence Griswold” in the categories below.

tropical downpours

7.3.14 ~ Groton, Connecticut
calm before the storm ~ 7.3.14 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Our ancestors spoke to storms with magical words, prayed to them, cursed them, and danced for them, dancing to the very edge of what is alien and powerful – the cold power of ocean currents, chaotic winds beyond control and understanding. We may have lost the dances, but we carry with us a need to approach the power of the universe, if only to touch it and race away.
~ Kathleen Dean Moore
(Holdfast: At Home in the Natural World)

Hurricane Arthur is still to the south of us, and is expected to miss us and head northeast and out to sea. But we are experiencing tropical downpours here in Groton as the outer bands of rain brush by southeastern Connecticut. At 3:00 p.m. we already had 1.9 inches of rain and it is still coming down in torrents.

I often say that I love the excitement of storms, as long as they don’t get too exciting. This one fits the bill. We’ve been keeping a wary eye on this storm since it formed off the coast of Florida and are now relieved that it isn’t going to be too bad. Independence Day parades and fireworks have all been cancelled, but the rest of the weekend promises to be sunny and pleasant.

Will be busy this week getting ready for two big events next weekend, a baby shower for Larisa and a wedding for Tim’s cousin. Before those, a trip to IKEA with Janet. A night out at the Amherst Early Music Festival with Tim. This time we will see “Late Medieval sacred motets and secular love songs performed by award-winning women’s vocal quartet Anonymous 4.” A motet is “a short piece of sacred choral music, typically polyphonic and unaccompanied.” I can’t wait!

Hurricane Sandy III

10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach

The picture above shows that the storm surge was still relatively high. There is a sidewalk just behind that white fence and the water never comes up to the top of the wall like it is in this picture. We were planning to make our way over there to snap even more pictures, but the police suddenly decided it was time to have all of us leave the area so the city workers could start operating their equipment to clean up the beach! If we had anticipated that happening we would have gone out there first off and worked our way back.  🙂

10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach

In this picture you can see that a portion of the white fence is missing (left of center), and a bit of the wall with some of its top missing. In the summer this stretch of sand is covered with mothers chatting under umbrellas, their children playing, blankets, towels, beach balls, shovels and buckets – I had my place among them – and senior citizens reclining, dozing or reading in deluxe beach loungers, enjoying their time in the sun…

10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
men at work, collecting chunks of stone for the payloader to haul away
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
remnants of the wall
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
sand and rocks deposited in front of Zbierski House
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
many rocks landed in the playground
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
waves still crashing over breakwater, wall, ramp and stairs
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
debris rammed into corner of wall and parking lot
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
section of wall in the foreground moved across the sidewalk
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach

Although we were amazed to see the damage done by Superstorm Sandy here on our little part of the Connecticut shoreline, we know that New York and New Jersey had it far worse and our hearts go out to them. It is truly heartbreaking to see the TV footage of the devastation they are enduring while we sit in the comfort of our living room.

However, I have a hard time feeling much sympathy for the people in the wealthier beachfront areas of Connecticut. Many of their homes were destroyed in Hurricane Irene just last year and they foolishly rebuilt at the same locations, and were wiped out again this time.

Recently I read an article that referred to a “way of life that was based on a mindless materialism oblivious to nature and its boundaries.”* I think this is a case in point. Mother Nature is delivering us a strong message about where we should not be building our homes. Climatologists say we can expect more of these super storms in the near future and rising sea levels in general, due to global warming.

During the Great New England Hurricane of 1938, all the summer cottages and much of the land at Bluff Point, here in Groton, were swept away by the storm surge. Nobody rebuilt there. The newly formed peninsula became a state park. It seems like the most sensible response to such a loss. When will we stop stubbornly resisting the forces of nature and start trying to live in harmony with them?

*”Power of Nature” by Gitte Larsen, Søren Steen Olsen, and Steen Svendsen, Utne Reader, Nov-Dec 2012

Hurricane Sandy II

10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
sand so deep it covered the curbs ~ 10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
sand covering the road, the entrance, the grass, the playground
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
sand and seaweed caught in the fence
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
the wall between the beach and the playground

The surge took large chunks of stone from the top of the wall separating the sandy beach from the grassy playground. The playground was now covered with sand and rocks from the wall. The sidewalk running along the playground side of the wall was badly damaged, too.

10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
Barbara contemplating the awesome power of Mother Nature
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
there is normally a good stretch of sand between the life guard chair and the water
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach
driftwood in the foreground, Avery Point campus in the distance

Still more pictures coming soon!

Hurricane Sandy I

10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
a fallen tree across the street from our condo complex
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Tuesday morning we went down to see how our beloved beach had fared in the storm. We kept taking turns with the camera so I’ll credit us both with the pictures in this post! Beach Pond Road was closed to traffic so we walked by the pond on our way to Eastern Point Beach. The storm surge had breached the dunes separating the pond from Long Island Sound, and pushed the water and debris across the street and up onto the lawns across the street.

10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.30.12 ~ Beach Pond Road, Groton, Connecticut
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
the surge had not fully receded from its highest level ~ 10.30.12 ~ Beach Pond
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
view of the flooded Beach Pond,
dunes and Long Island Sound in the background
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
same view, the bushes in the foreground were still surrounded by water

I think city workers had already plowed away the sand on the road because we were not at all prepared for the scene that awaited us when we got to the beach itself! The road there was covered with about a foot and a half of sand!

10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.30.12 ~ Eastern Point Beach, Groton, Connecticut
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
basketball court covered in sand
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
looks like the top of a tree from who-knows-where
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
Tyler House still surrounded by high water
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
a park bench turned over and buried in the sand
10.30.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
amazed that we could step over the buried chain link fence

More pictures coming soon!

miakoda

10.29.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
full moon ~ 10.29.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Miakoda is a Native American word for the power of the moon. The gravity from last night’s full moon added 2 to 3 feet to Hurricane Sandy’s storm surge at high tide. We are safe and sound!

10.29.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.29.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

You may have heard of survivor guilt. I am suffering a case of power guilt. For some reason we cannot fathom, we never lost power from the super storm, even though the lights flickered here at times and the neighborhoods surrounding ours lost theirs.

Apparently I fell soundly asleep early last night and Tim went out to take storm surge pictures at high tide without me. He says I said good-bye but I don’t remember it. Amazing I could sleep through all the excitement! The pictures of the surge didn’t come out so well, but he got some amazing shots of the full moon in the storm clouds!

The full moon sailed bright through that Ocean on high,
And the wind murmured past with a wild eerie sound.
~ Emily Brontë
(The Complete Poems of Emily Jane Brontë)

10.29.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.29.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

photos by Timothy Rodgers

surge

10.29.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.29.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Looking east, a short walk from us, Birch Plain Creek at low tide (3:16 pm) covering some of Thomas Road. The creek empties into the sound to the right, about half a mile to the south. Wonder how high the surge will be at high tide (8:52 pm) tonight? Tim says he will go and take pictures in the dark – I’m not so sure about his plan!

10.29.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut
10.29.12 ~ Groton, Connecticut

Looking west from Thomas Road, showing the surge has pushed north up the creek and under the bridge, about where the signs are. Water is creeping up the banks. We live up that little hill, and then to the right, still farther up the hill.

The wind is howling, the walls are creaking, and the lights were flickering a short while ago. We’ve had very little rain. Reports say much of Groton is without power now and we’ll probably be joining them soon. And Groton is now experiencing hurricane-force winds. I think I’m signing out for the time being.

Hoping for the best for everyone in the path of this super storm, and praying that all are well prepared for the worst!

photos by Timothy Rodgers