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Natural Cycles

Good morning everyone. The docks leading to the windjammers at the head of Camden Harbor were removed for the winter on the high tide yesterday afternoon. Many thanks to the town harbormaster and the crew from the highway department who pitch in to safely get these floats in and out so smoothly. I hauled the winter commuter skiff down to the sea wall and will make visits as frequently as possible. I spent Monday aboard winterizing and installing an emergency pump, just in case. I have heard tales from the old days when schooners mysteriously sprung a leak after a bad ice up. It has been so warm here that ice does not seem likely but I know freezing winter temperatures are just around the corner‚Ķso says the Old Farmers Almanac. Now that the docks are out we find it easier to settle into finishing some late fall onshore outdoor projects. There are several cords of firewood yet to split and stack, the garden to till, year end office madness, and leaves to rake. And so our lives and work are driven by the constant tension of the changing seasons. One observation… the achorns and pine cones are as abundant at our house as I have ever seen them. Like walking on ball bearings the achorns make it tricky to traverse the dooryard. I guess the white pines and red oaks had as much fun this summer as we did.

Now the harbor belongs to the winter residents, namely the many sea ducks that winter here. This pair of long tailed ducks was swimming together and I was able to sneak up on them with the help of a long lens. The Arctic tundra is where this couple breeds and they look a bit different in their summer home. The pink band on the male’s bill is more defined in the winter than in the summer and pictures I have seen show less white on the head in breeding plumage. People ask us what we do during the winter. I ask the ducks what they do during the summer. We actually do get to see these and several other Arctic ducks as they migrate during our early June natural history cruises. I don’t know if I will ever stop loving the sight of these critters skittering across Penobscot Bay on their way north. Their mysterious migration and annual winter visits remind me of the wildness in our universe and my heart leaps with joy to know it is so.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

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