Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September 22: Island Night

The chirp of crickets blends with the background roar of the surf, punctuated by the occasional moan of the foghorn and the intermittent chime of a bell buoy just offshore. Today is day one of my annual fall vacation on Monhegan Island off the coast of Maine. I'm sitting in the dark on the lawn of my inn, the Trailing Yew, admiring the patterns of the clouds backlit by a full moon--the first full moon of autumn--while behind me the lighthouse beam sweeps the meadow. Earlier I saw a bat fluttering in the twilight. Now birds are calling as they fly overheard, about to head out over open ocean to continue southward.

It's been a full day so far and this is really my first moment alone. A crowded boat left Port Clyde this morning on rough seas. While the deep swells didn't bother me, many on the boat did not fare well. My friend Amy met my boat, and from then on it was a wonderful swirl of catching up with old friends and meeting new ones--all while trying to see a few migrating birds. The birding is a bit quiet right now, but the birding social scene is hopping.

Now it's bedtime, so I can rise early tomorrow and hit the trails in earnest, looking for warblers, sparrows, and hawks, the avian highlights of the season. As Calvin from "Calvin and Hobbes" once put it, "The days are just packed."

Once by this full moon
I hiked with friends through night woods
to surf-churned Burnt Head.

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