Another early morning walk, definitely the bird hour. I was taking pictures of the pond when this black-crowned night heron flew up from the water and perched on the evergreens. I had to use the telephoto lens but he seemed well aware that I was looking at him and seemed determined to stay right there until I went away. He won! After moving myself to different vantage points and taking five zillion pictures I finally left him there. Most birds fly away before I can get a good shot.
The restlessness of shorebirds, their kinship with the distance and swift seasons, the wistful signal of their voices down the long coastlines of the world make them, for me, the most affecting of wild creatures. ~ Peter Matthiessen (The Peter Matthiessen Reader: Nonfiction, 1959-1991)
One morning, four days after the beach “opened” for the season on June 20, we got up early and headed down there before it opened for the day. What a difference! Now that people have to pay for a pass to enter between 8am and 8pm the freeloaders and all their litter, cigarette butts and dog crap have disappeared. Peace is restored and we had such a lovely walk!
In contrast to the tranquil Canada goose family, the killdeer parents were beyond frantic, chasing after and chirping to their three chicks, who were darting all over the place and in every direction. It made getting their pictures next to impossible! They blended in well with the gravel.
Someone is tending some beautiful rose bushes near the entrance, along the chain link fence.
I love the contrast between rusty old metal and fresh new flower.
The water was very calm on the river/estuary side of the point.
Another risk factor to worry about:
The two stretches of DNA implicated as harboring risks for severe COVID-19 are known to carry some intriguing genes, including one that determines blood type and others that play various roles in the immune system. In fact, the findings suggest that people with blood type A face a 50 percent greater risk of needing oxygen support or a ventilator should they become infected with the novel coronavirus. In contrast, people with blood type O appear to have about a 50 percent reduced risk of severe COVID-19. ~ Dr. Francis S. Collins (Genes, Blood Type Tied to Risk of Severe COVID-19, NIH Director’s Blog, June 18, 2020)
I have type A blood. Fortunately my husband, children, and grandchildren are all type O. Reading this article made me glad that we haven’t let our guard down and continue to remain firmly self-quarantined. And now our governor has ordered out-of-state travelers to quarantine for two weeks when entering Connecticut because of the way COVID-19 is spreading like wildfire in so many other states. I’m glad to know he is still looking out for us. The numbers are getting very alarming again.
It’s good to know my beach sanctuary is available to me again, at least for the summer. Looking forward to many early morning walks on the sand.
The salt of those ancient seas is in our blood, its lime is in our bones. Every time we walk along a beach some ancient urge disturbs us so that we find ourselves shedding shoes and garments, or scavenging among seaweed and whitened timbers like the homesick refugees of a long war. ~ Loren Eiseley (The Unexpected Universe)
I like this place, and willingly could Waste my time in it. ~ William Shakespeare (As You Like It)
We are nature. We are nature seeing nature. The red-winged blackbird flies in us. ~ Susan Griffin (Made from this Earth: An Anthology of Writings)
Along the shoreline, about 19 miles east of us, the waters of Fishers Island Sound give way to the the bigger waves of Block Island Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. When leaving Connecticut and arriving in Watch Hill, Rhode Island, the terrain and the beaches feel a lot more like Cape Cod to me. The irresistable desire to hear those waves crashing led me to drag Tim to Napatree Point Thursday morning and he was a good sport about a hike over the dunes.
Napatree Point is a slender, 1.5 mile long peninsula in Block Island Sound. To the north of the peninsula is Little Narragansett Bay, a small estuary into which the Pawcatuck River empties. The small bay is an inlet of the Atlantic Ocean. ~ Wikipedia
First we walked along the bay side, but not all the way to the end of the peninsula. The water was calm and there were lots of birds busy fishing and flying, but only one herring gull. He was quite handsome and paid no attention to us.
What is it with me and gulls? I won’t say how many pictures I wound up taking of this one. 🙂 But the sound of the waves on the ocean side was beckoning…
Time to take a shortcut over the dune. We made it across without encountering someone coming the other way. With COVID-19 ever on our minds we knew it would have to be a one-way-at-a-time bridge.
The waves were relatively calm, but bigger than the ones at our beach, and the sound of them crashing was soothing to me.
Till my soul is full of longing For the secret of the sea, And the heart of the great ocean Sends a thrilling pulse through me. ~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (The Secret of the Sea)
There was a family with two children playing there on the beach. When we got closer the parents called the little ones back to their blanket and we hugged the water, putting as much distance between us as possible. We didn’t linger so the kids could quickly get back to their playing by the water. Life in the time of coronavirus.
I’ve been wrestling with several other concerns, though. Perhaps it’s stress, but my migraines have come back and have become very frequent, waking me up almost every night. Fortunately I have a stash of meds but I’m starting to worry I will blow through it before my next refill is due.
And then there is what I thought were spider bites I woke up with last Saturday morning. Mostly on my belly, a few on my face, and a couple of days later, a spot on my ankle. By the middle of the week I suspected flea bites or chigger bites. But the itching and rash now feels exactly like poison ivy. Which means I’ve got another week or two of this misery to live through. Probably picked it up in the woods on one of our walks. I think I will confine our walks to the cemetery and dirt roads for now.
Seeing the open ocean, hearing the waves, smelling the salty air, picking up a shell to remember the morning, all of it gave me some breathing space. Even the incessant itching seemed to stop for a while.
Try to be happy in this very present moment; and put not off being so to a time to come: as though that time should be of another make from this, which is already come, and is ours. ~ Thomas Fuller (A Dictionary of Thoughts: Being a Cyclopedia of Laconic Quotations from the Best Authors of the World, Both Ancient & Modern)
This morning I read that headaches are one of the possible side effects of hydrocortisone cream, which I’ve been using on the poison ivy. Itching, too. So I’m going to stop using it for a while and see what happens. This too, will pass.
I was very sorry to leave but very grateful to have enjoyed our moments there. On our way out we managed to stay far enough away from a couple of people arriving and exchanged greetings from behind our masks. “It’s the new way,” one man observed, as we all did our do-si-dos along the paths.
While video chatting with our son and daughter-in-law they mentioned an open space property where they used to love hiking when they lived up here. (They live in Georgia now.) So we set about finding Avery Tract the next day. The highlight of our adventure was spotting this scarlet tanager!
If you squint you can see “NATURE SANCTUARY” written into the cement on the landing. Our only clue that we found the property.
The trail quickly started going downhill towards the Thames River and the New England Central Railroad tracks.
We turned around and headed back up the hill, trying to get some pictures of the scarlet tanager who was flying from treetop to treetop. He was very elusive! All taken with the telephoto lens.
The scarlet tanager sighting was definitely the most exciting part of my day!
Since I am getting frustrated trying to identify mosses online I just ordered a field guide book to mosses, liverworts, and hornworts. And since I have no idea what liverworts and hornworts are it looks like I have a lot to learn.
Another hour long walk. Lots of huffing and puffing coming back up the hill but it was all worth the effort. Until next time…
As we continue to carve out a new life for ourselves in quarantine, we have started referring to “our bubble.” Stay safe, stay home. We are wary of popping our bubble by some careless slip of protocol. We care for our safe zone (our bubble) and speak of it fondly sometimes, as we tend to it like one would a houseplant or a pet.
Yesterday we went for an early morning walk at Elm Grove Cemetery in Mystic. It’s a large scenic resting place along the Mystic River, just north of Mystic Seaport. The seaport is closed for the pandemic and many (most?) of its employees have been laid off. We parked at the south end of the graveyard where we could see the dockyard across the water and also explore the fascinating carvings on the gravestones of past sailors.
We’re going to renew our membership to Mystic Seaport anyway. Even though we have no idea when it will be safe to visit again.
I’m pretty sure that cliff and house (above) are part of the Peace Sanctuary, where Janet, her mom and I took a lady slippers nature walk back in 2013. See lady slippers.
Will the Viking ship have any adventures this year? I have my doubts there will be a Viking Days festival this June…
And we finally came around back to our car. Can’t believe it’s six years old! In some places folks aren’t permitted to drive somewhere to take a walk but we are, thankfully. Tim says it isn’t good for cars to sit without running for long periods of time. Our car is an important part of our bubble!
This was our first walk where we did not encounter a single person! Not sure if it was the location or the time of day that did the trick. I suspect there will be more cooler early morning walks as the warmer summer days come along. As long as we can manage to stay safe in our bubble.
We now have 21 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in our town.
Noon — is the Hinge of Day — Evening — the Tissue Door — Morning — the East compelling the Sill — Till all the World is ajar — ~ Emily Dickinson (The Poems of Emily Dickinson, #1060)
On Wednesday we went down to the beach earlier in the morning and found it less populated and more peaceful. Chilly, but wonderful! Staying connected with family and friends and even feeling better physically. Full of gratitude.
Spring! Back at home in my garden, the chionodoxa (glory of the snow) are out! What a cheerful greeting and welcome home. ❦
Capt. John Denison, my 8th-great-grandfather, son of George and Ann (Borodell) Denison, was born 14 June 1646 in Roxbury-Boston (Suffolk) Massachusetts, and died 26 April 1698 in Stonington (New London) Connecticut. He married 26 November 1667 in Saybrook (Middlesex) Connecticut, Phebe Lay, who was born 5 January 1651 at Saybrook Point-Old Saybrook (Middlesex) Connecticut, and died in 1699 in Stonington, daughter of Robert and Sarah (Fenner) Lay.
The following is from Ancestors & Descendants of Calvert Crary & His Wife Eliza Hill, Liberty, N.Y. collected by Jerry Crary, (New York, Privately Printed, 1917) 61
The marriage contract or deed of settlement, arranged between their parents, is recorded in Saybrook. By this deed of settlement, executed before the marriage, the respective parents conveyed to John Denison and Phebe Lay, the farm granted to Capt. George Denison near the mouth of Mystic River in Stonington, and the house and land in Saybrook, which Mr. Lay had formerly bought of John Post. … They settled in Stonington, on “the farm near the mouth of Mystic River.” He was known as “Capt. John Denison,” held a prominent position in Stonington, and in many ways was a man of mark.
John & Phebe were the parents of nine children:
i. Capt. John Denison, born 1 January 1669 in Stonington, died in 1699 in Old Saybrook. He married about 1690, Ann Mason, who was born about 1669, daughter of John and Abigail (Fitch) Mason. John & Ann were the parents of five children.
ii. George Denison (my 7th-great-grandfather), born 28 March 1671 in Stonington, died 20 January 1720 in New London (New London) Connecticut. He married (as her second husband) about 1694, Mary (Wetherell) Harris, who was born 7 October 1668 in New London, and died there 22 August 1711, daughter of Daniel and Grace (Brewster) Wetherell, and widow of Thomas Harris. George & Mary were the parents of eight children.
iii. Capt. Robert Denison, born 17 September 1673 in Stonington, died there in 1737. He married about 1696, Joanna Stanton, who was born 5 June 1679 in Stonington, and died about 1715, daughter of Robert and Joanna (Gardner) Stanton. Robert & Joanna were the parents of five children.
iv. Capt. William Denison, born 7 April 1677 in Stonington, died there 13 February 1730. He married (as her first husband) in March 1698, Mary Avery, who was born 17 November 1680 in Stonington, and died there 5 February 1762, daughter of John and Abigail (Chesebrough) Avery. William & Mary were the parents of eleven children.
v. Dea. Daniel Denison, born 28 March 1680 in Stonington, died 13 October 1747. He married (as his first wife) 1 January 1704 in Stonington, Mary Stanton, who was born 3 February 1687 in Stonington, and died there 2 September 1724, daughter of Robert and Joanna (Gardner) Stanton. Daniel & Mary were the parents of three children. Daniel married (as his second wife) 27 October 1726 in Stonington, Jane Cogswell, who died about 1736. Daniel married (as his third wife and as her second husband) 17 November 1737, Abigail (Fish) Eldridge, who was born about 1691 in Groton (New London) Connecticut and died there 17 June 1784, daughter of Samuel and Sarah (Stark) Fish, and widow of Daniel Eldridge.
vi. Samuel Denison, born 23 February 1683 in Stonington, died there 12 May 1683.
vii. Anna Denison, born 3 October 1684 in Stonington. She married (as her first husband) 7 April 1702 in Stonington, Ens. Samuel Minor, who was born 28 August 1680 in Stonington and died there 8 December 1717, son of Ephraim and Hannah (Avery) Minor. Anna & Samuel had no children. Anna married (as her second husband and as his second wife) about 1718, her first cousin, Edward Denison, who was born about 1678 and died 9 December 1726 in Westerly (Washington) Rhode Island, son of George and Mercy (Gorham) Denison. Anna married (as her third husband and as his second wife) 16 July 1734 in Windham (Windham) Connecticut, Lt. Jeremiah Ripley, who was born 4 August 1662 in Hingham (Plymouth) Massachusetts, and died 10 March 1737 in Windham, son of John and Elizabeth (Ripley) Ripley.
viii. Phebe Denison, born 6 April 1690 in Stonington, died there 30 December 1775. She married 2 April 1706 in Stonington, Lt. Ebenezer Billings, who was born 1 January 1684 in Stonington and died there 20 July 1760, son of Ebenezer and Ann (Comstock) Billings. Phebe & Ebenezer were the parents of twelve children.
ix. Sarah Denison, born 29 July 1692 in Stonington, died there in 1733. She married 7 November 1711 in Stonington, Isaac Williams, who was born 10 April 1688 in Newton (Middlesex) Massachusetts, and died 24 March 1733 in Stonington, son of John and Martha (Wheeler) Williams. Sarah & Isaac were the parents of eight children.
My Denison Line
Capt. John Denison (1646-1698) George Denison (1671-1720) Daniel Denison (1703-1749) Mary Denison (1728-?) Elias Thompson (1773-1848) Lucy Anne Thompson (1808-1852) William Martin White (1836-1925) Samuel Minor White (1873-1949) John Everett White (my grandfather)
In 1646, New London was settled by colonists from Massachusetts. The first English settler within the bounds of modern Preston was Jonathan Brewster who acquired land from Uncas at the mouth of Poquetanuck Cove on the Thames River, later called Brewster’s Neck. ~ Town of Preston website
Last month when we were out and about we located Brewster’s Neck Cemetery in Preston, two towns north of us. As it turns out we both descend from Jonathan Brewster, making us 10th cousins, once removed. Jonathan & Lucretia lie buried in this plot, although the original gravestones have long since disappeared.
Jonathan Brewster, my 9th-great-grandfather and Tim’s 10th-great-grandfather, was born about 1593 in England, and died about 1660 in Preston (New London) Connecticut, son of William and Mary (—) Brewster. He married 10 April 1624, Lucretia Oldham, who was born about 1601 in England, and died 4 March 1671 in Preston.
Jonathan arrived in Plymouth on 9 November 1621, on the Fortune and Lucretia arrived 10 July 1623, on the Anne. When they settled in Brewster’s Neck, near the Thames River, about 1650, it was part of New London. Preston was incorporated as a town in 1687, after their deaths.
Jonathan & Lucretia were the parents of eight children:
i. William Brewster, born 9 March 1625 in Plymouth (Plymouth) Massachusetts.
ii. Mary Brewster (Tim’s 9th great-grandmother), born 16 April 1627 in Plymouth, died about 1698 in Scituate (Plymouth) Massachusetts. She married 12 November 1645, Eld. John Turner, who was born about 1620, and died 16 June 1697 in Scituate, son of Humphrey and Lydia (—) Turner. Mary & John were the parents of thirteen children.
iii. Jonathan Brewster, born 17 July 1629 in Plymouth.
iv. Ruth Brewster, born 3 October 1631 in Duxbury (Plymouth) Massachusetts, died 30 April 1677 in New London (New London) Connecticut. She married (as her first husband) 14 March 1651, John Pickett, who was born about 1629 and died 16 August 1667 at sea, son of John and Elizabeth (Ives) Pickett. Ruth & John were the parents of six children. Ruth married (as her second husband and as his first wife) 16 July 1668 in New London, Charles Hill, who was born about 1630 in England and died October 1684 in New London. Ruth & Charles were the parents of five children.
v. Capt. Benjamin Brewster, born 17 November 1633 in Duxbury, died 14 September 1710 in Norwich (New London) Connecticut. He married (as her second husband) 28 February 1659, Ann (Addis) Dart, who was born before 17 March 1628 and died 9 May 1709 in Norwich, daughter of William and Millicent (Wood) Addis, and widow of Ambrose Dart. Benjamin & Ann were the parents of eight children.
vi. Elizabeth Brewster, born 1 May 1637 in Duxbury, died February 1708 in New London. She married 7 September 1653, Peter Bradley, who was born about 1634 and died 3 April 1662 at sea. Elizabeth & Peter were the parents of four children. After becoming a widow Elizabeth gave birth to a son out of wedlock with a married man, Christopher Christophers, who was born about 1631 in England and died 23 July 1687 in New London.
vii. Grace Brewster (my 8th-great-grandmother), born 1 November 1639 in Duxbury, died 22 April 1684 in New London. She married 4 August 1659 in New London, Capt. Daniel Wetherell, who was born 29 November 1630 in England and died 14 April 1719 in New London. Grace & Daniel were the parents of five children.
viii. Hannah Brewster (my 8th-great-grandmother), born 3 November 1641 in Duxbury, died 11 December 1711 in Groton (New London) Connecticut. She married (as her first husband) 23 December 1664 in New London, Samuel Starr, who was born about 1640 and died before 22 February 1688 in New London, son of Thomas and Rachel (—) Starr. Hannah & Samuel were the parents of four sons. Hannah married (as her second husband and as his second wife) before 8 May 1690, Capt. James Morgan, who was born 3 March 1643 in Roxbury-Boston (Suffolk) Massachusetts and died 8 December 1711 in Groton, son of James and Margery (Hill) Morgan.
Our Brewster Lines
Jonathan Brewster (1593-1659) Mary Brewster (1627-1698) Ezekiel Turner (1650-1704) Grace Turner (1692-1784) Ezekiel Minor (1723-1780) Martin Minor (1750-1820) William Minor (1788-1856) Paulina Elizabeth Minor (1822-1898) Elona Naomi Case (1853-1929) Marion Case Raven (1883-1926) Lenore Naomi Raven (Tim’s grandmother)
Jonathan Brewster (1593-1659) Grace Brewster (1639-1684) Mary Wetherell (1668-1711) Daniel Denison (1703-1749) Mary Denison (1728-?) Elias Thompson (1773-1848) Lucy Anne Thompson (1808-1852) William Martin White (1836-1925) Samuel Minor White (1873-1949) John Everett White (my grandfather)
Jonathan Brewster (1593-1659) Hannah Brewster (1641-1711) Thomas Starr (1668-1712) Rachel Starr (1705-1791) ~ married her 2nd cousin, Daniel Denison Mary Denison (see above list)
On the edge of the Brewster plot we found three more stones from the Norwich Ovoid Carver, mentioned in several previous posts. These belong to a son, daughter-in-law and grandson of Jonathan & Lucretia, not in our direct lines. These stones are much harder to read than the ones in Groton, but thanks to the work of others at Find-A-Grave I was able to identify them.
Capt. Benjamin Brewster (1633-1710), son of Jonathan & Lucretia
Ann (Addis) (Dart) Brewster (1628-1709), wife of Benjamin
Jonathan Brewster (1664-1704), son of Benjamin & Ann