Friday, October 18, 2013

Rhode Island: Insults and Inspiration

I'm taking the train from NY to Providence for a few days on Wakefield Pond.

The Amtrak train whips up the coastline...

...trees showing more and more fall color as we go northward...

...until we finally come to rest at Wakefield Pond.

It's so much darker up here than in the city.  There are lights across the lake,
and they do their usual strange warping reflections, as if we're in some kind of gravity-bowl here.
Or maybe a baby-black hole...

The next morning, the first insult occurs when my new (from last May) iPhone 4 falls a mere foot and a half to the floor and shatters the apparently incredibly fragile glass screen!


Which brings us to the second insult:  dial-up!  
I'm having to use DIAL-UP for three whole days!  
 Before my phone was shattered, it was getting sporadic service 
and had become nearly useless in any case.
 So, in its misery, it attempted to end it all by leaping out of my hand to 
shatter on the Pergo floor?

Arrrghhhhh!!!!  Dial-up gets me email, but I am unable to say, play Scrabble.
How will I live?

Yet Frank and I charge on, as this is the day of the annual fall party, for which Frank has made sure, 
once again, that we have enough meat.

He sears the roast in a hot oven, then lets it slow cook for several hours.
The old fashioned way.
Here he gives up the electric contraption and carves it the old fashioned way
with a super-sharp knife.

Later he and Natalie admire her dolls - Cinderella and Prince Charming.

Frank is used to hanging out with females with dolls...

Natalie smiles through the screen...

...and her little sister Marlie in Mom Nicole's arms stares me down...

Another little one, James, with dad Pete and Uncle Matt,
and below Mary is loving the roast.

Below, Bernie discusses important matters with daughter Jayne and friend.

The Lind girls:  Tina, Mary, Amy and Cathy!

My reflection reveals the inner workings of the living room...

...where the football game rules.
Some team or another is playing another team, and some team or another eventually wins.

Matt and Frank discuss important, non-football related issues in the leafy woods.

Tina and I are a bit blurry, but blurry is good!

After the party, Frank and I spend the evening on the beach,
watching the water, the sky, and one particular male mallard duck
who has decided to hang out in our locality.

We watch him go back and forth for a good while.
Why is he here?  What does he want?
Could it be:  BREAD?

I'm not big on feeding the wildlife, getting them into bad habits and such,
but he is so patient, so true, so persevering.

Okay, okay.

 I go up and get the remains of yesterday's train lunch, 
all the bread from my Starbucks egg-salad sandwich
as I like to pick out the middle and leave the bread.
It's whole grain, so the duck will be getting good nutrition,
not just empty calorie white bread!

Mr. Mallard goes back and forth, forth and back...

...while Frank and I throw bread, throw bread, throw bread for a good hour,
which all, every crumb, ends up inside the innards of the fish-herd who hangs out at the dock.
They swarm madly to the surface and scarf it down before 
Mr. I'm-Too-Sexy-For-This-Bread Mallard
can get his act together.

Off he goes, breadless to the end.  
Not our fault.  We cast our bread upon the waters, religiously.
We do our best, but obviously its not good enough for Mr. Mallard, is it?

Is this insult number three?  Duck rejection?
I think so.

Nevertheless, we enjoy moments of quiet in the waning sunset,
duckless, breadless and at peace with ourselves and our motives.

Frank enjoys some artificial light, also.

The next morning brings us an amazing sight:
mist hanging in the air, moving slowly over the lake.

(Full disclosure, some of these mist pictures might be by Frank.  Maybe one.)

Behind us, it drifts through the trees.

Later, only a small scattering of surface mist is left.
This is when Insult number 4 begins:  The Across-the-Lake Chainsaw Massacre...

....where someone has been cutting down tree after tree.  
For two days now, even yesterday, Sunday during our party!

Today he keeps it up for eleven hours straight.
8AM through 7PM!!!!

In spite of the noise, we soldier on.
 I try to use a new lens that Andrew got for my birthday - first I get this...

...then I get this...

...finally I get this.
Apparently the lens is supposed to give kind of a awesome vignette look with a central focus
and blurred edge.
I'm not quite getting it, however.
I think this will be a really amazing lens once I learn how to use it.
I need to take Andrew's photography class, and get past my Auto settings.

I decide to do something I do well, which is hang up clothes.
I jump at the chance to put clothespin to cloth - it's an art to me.

Frank relaxes on the beach beyond the clothesline, when my labors are over I will join him.

Today we see a fisherman troll through - he's proud to have caught a perch that is pretty darn big, 
about 14 inches,
but since he's doing catch and release, he has only the fish story to tell.
He stretches his fingers out to give us an idea of the size.
He and his boat remind me of the duck from yesterday...not to dwell on Mr. Mallard,
but the resemblance is striking.

The colors change from white to brilliant salmon pink as the sun sets...

...and finally, our chainsaw-wielding friend gets in his truck and leaves us in blessed silence.

On our last full day, we take a ride through Rhode Island woods... catch a glimpse of the local goat farm - more goats here than were on the Isle of Mull
in Scotland.  Where is Hal Thompson when you need him?
Maybe he could get these goats to give him a run for him money, like he did the sheep!

Here's a road we don't go down, don't want to disturb the blind driver...

...and then, into the water!  The temp has gone down into the 40's so it's a bit cold,
maybe even colder than Lake Superior in August!

OMG!  COLD!!!!

 Once out of the water, we watch our last sunset.

And on the way up from the lake, I hear a crackly scramble,
and spy a slithery snake in the autumn leaves.

It's not a big snake, but quite cannily camouflaged, seen here right in the middle of the photo.

The next morning, ah, time to go!

Wooden frame to metal frame.

On the Long Island Expressway, I watch the progress of a GUMA Truck... and an fro...not entirely unlike Mr. Mallard at the lake... on the left, city on the right.

And now surrounded by vehicles like a duck in the middle of a fish pond...

Not to push the comparison too far.
And here's a sight seen only in Brooklyn!

Ahhh, back in the big city, where
the first thing I do is walk to the 
AT&T store on 7th Avenue run by a very cool Polish guy.  I show him my poor broken phone and
he alerts me to the neighborhood fellow in the nearby brownstone:  
the very person to put my woes to rest!
$125 later... iPhone is perfect again!

Ah, city life!


  1. Wow, we miss RI! Awesome mist pics. You need to keep using the LensBaby and yes, put your camera in Manual! So good for you! I think you have an iPhone 5, btw.

    1. Thanks, Andrew, miss you two, too! I will bring the lensbaby at TG, so we can confer while the Keeley Yonda baby sleeps. Thanks for the heads up re. the phone - what do I know? LOL!

  2. Lovely time to be up at the pond. So enjoyed Mr. Mallard's run along the surface. Yep, those fish are fast and smart. The mist is so beautiful. And Frank's got the meat roasting down pat, start high and then go low and slow, mmm, mmm!! Thanks again for sharing your experiences!