Sunday, August 21, 2005

Poem for Sunday

Dante Lucked Out
By David Lehman

T. S. Eliot held that Dante was lucky
to live in the Middle Ages
because life then was more logically organized
and society more coherent. The rest of us however
can't be as sure that if we'd had the fortune
to walk along the Arno and look at the pretty girls
walking with their mothers in the fourteenth century,
then we, too, would have composed La Vita Nuova
and the Divine Comedy. It is on the contrary
far more likely that we, transported
to medieval Florence, would have died miserably
in a skirmish between the Guelphs and the Ghibelines
without the benefit of anesthesia
or would have been beaten, taunted,
cheated, and cursed as usurers
two centuries before the charging of interest
became an accepted part of Calvinist creed
and other reasons needed to be produced
to justify the persecution of the Jews.


From Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky in The Washington Post Book World. "Lehman is candid as well as ironic -- sometimes, both at once. He generates a maniacal, irreverent, fast-thinking range of references to movies, poems, history," states the critic. "Lehman's writing is 'literary' in a way that shows how literature, along with the other arts, is not a meadow for ruminative academic grazing, but a field of energy...Lehman can turn from a deadpan, reasonable soul's misgivings about T.S. Eliot's pronouncements to a reflection on history that cuts deeper than mere mockery." Pinsky discusses the use of the first person plural in the poem above, saying that the poem transitions from "an unexamined, complacent and generalized use of the pronoun 'we' ('if we'd had the fortune/ to walk along the Arno') to something more specific and real. The point is not merely to deride Eliot's comfortable upper-class viewpoint...the word 'anesthesia' serves as a hinge to the last six lines, which sweep ahead to consider a lack of moral feeling, or an imaginative numbness. Real nastiness and historical savageries bubble under the surface of the nostalgia."

I still miss Edward Hirsch writing this column but Pinsky has published some wonderful analyses the past few weeks. There are fewer poems and more examinations of the poems, which I appreciate because it's a lot easier to find good poems than good discussions of poetry targeted neither at academics nor at other poets.

We retrieved our children today from their grandparents at the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve and Zoo, a family-owned, professionally-run zoo in the Appalachian foothills. It was not as cool as one might wish even in the mountains, but the park is shaded and has lots of water so it was bearable. Though we have driven by it many, many times passing through Thurmont on US 15, we have never visited it before, and we were quite impressed; it's an old-style zoo, with animals in traditional cages instead of out in more natural enclosures, but one could get a lot closer to them than, say, to the lions in the Baltimore Zoo which are often not visible to visitors. There is a baby sun bear and lion cubs, a pregnant jaguar and a number of baby gray armed macaques -- a species that can only be seen outside Indonesia in this zoo.

When we came home we discovered that our cable had gone out, and it did not return until after 7 p.m., giving me an insane evening trying to get articles written instead of unpacking the kids (who were desperate to reacquaint themselves with the GameCube after three days away, anyway). So I spent a working Saturday night and fiddled with the more than 100 photos I took today, which you will probably be seeing for some time. *g* Tonight, animals for people on LJ...

Black swans for . They had a nest and there were signs warning that the swans would attack anyone who got too close.

A mandrill for . This one kept trying to smack its companion out of the way to steal her pieces of plum, which is why the naturalist is holding her hands so far apart.

Lion cubs for . These are named Asacari and Keito and were born on April 29th.

A jaguar for -- she's pregnant, does that make her domesticated enough to be a cat goddess? *g* This is Evita; her mate Diego did not deign to put in an appearance.

For and , Bengal tigers grooming each other.

For , an assortment of colorful parrots.

And for ....well, I think it's pretty obvious why I picked this one!

To my regret I did not get a clear photo of the skink for , and what I thought might be turned out to be a black-buck antelope, nor were there sheep for although I expect we will see some of those when we drive to Pennsylvania for Labor Day...and to my surprise no one on my friends list is named debauched_sloth or galapagos_tortoise. *g* But I have other snakes, and giant birds, and hungry, greedy fallow deer!

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Poem for Saturday

The Year
By Carl Sandburg


A storm of white petals,
Buds throwing open baby fists
Into hands of broad flowers.


Red roses running upward,
Clambering to the clutches of life
Soaked in crimson.


Rabbles of tattered leaves
Holding golden flimsy hopes
Against the tramplings
Into the pits and gullies.


Hoarfrost and silence:
Only the muffling
Of winds dark and lonesome --
Great lullabies to the long sleepers.


Spent a relatively quiet day without children; I'd been hoping to see but we played answering machine tag and never connected! So instead I got caught up on some things I really needed to get done before the kids went back to school, and I wrote my review of "The Conscience of the King", which I feel vaguely ashamed for liking as much as I do -- the Shakespeare parallels are so cheesy, and Lenore suffers from some of the most unbearable seduction dialogue ever...and Kirk falls for it! Okay, he is obligated to do so since he wants to use her to get to her father, but still, the stuff about the ship's power surging and throbbing...eesh. Only Spock's apparent jealousy makes it worthwhile. *g*

I had a really nice thing happen, too. There is a Tarot artist whom I love, Kris Waldherr -- she did The Goddess Tarot and more recently The Lover's Path Tarot, and she has written a novel, The Lover's Path, to which the deck is loosely connected. I had discovered some time back that she is a friend of an old friend of mine from Chicago who was then a graphic designer but is now a filmmaker and I had bought one of Waldherr's prints to support my friend's film fundraising. Waldherr has done a special edition of The Lover's Path Tarot with a 23rd major arcana card, Artistry, with a beautiful illustration on it of a violinist; it reminds me of a Waterhouse painting. She was looking for people to help publicize The Lover's Path by leaving postcards in local stores and coffee shops, which I said I would be happy to do, and in writing to her I asked whether she would consider letting me have one of the Artistry cards -- most of them are signed exclusives, but I want one for readings because I love the deck. She sent one to me! I have not read the novel yet, so that will be next on my list...

Tonight since the kids are still away we put on Naked, which cannot be watched with children awake anywhere in the house, but it's so unremittingly bleak, though superbly acted, that after awhile we turned it off and put on Bride and Prejudice which is much more the mood I felt like for the evening -- is it possible to watch a Bollywood extravaganza and be depressed, I wonder, or is it like disco movies from the 1970s, simply impossible to resist? I still think Aishwarya Rai is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen.

At Quiet Waters Park in Annapolis, a tree is growing as the "mast" of this wooden boat.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Poem for Friday

By Viggo Mortensen

Still unused,
the letter opener
she got on her birthday
has become tarnished.
It lies on the sill,
next to a seashell
she found in Florida
before moving west.
Before becoming a writer.
Before becoming a mother.
Her son wants to use it
as a dagger,
to wield it savagely
against monsters and bad guys
that come streaming out
from the toy-cluttered corners
of his room,
but he can't reach it yet.


Shut up, I'm allowed to be in the mood for that poem. I think it was the seashell and the fact that my son too has monsters and bad guys in the toy-cluttered corners of his room. I have my mermaid-handle athame hidden because I can only imagine how it might get used if found at the wrong moment.

Had a quiet morning and afternoon before going out for Middle Eastern food in Georgetown with my husband prior to the going to the movies. Returned some phone calls, made some appointments, wrote an entertaining article about the ongoing war between Linlithgow, Edinburgh and Aberdeen to be the Official Future Birthplace of Montgomery Scott and a more depressing one about the implosion of Decipher, Inc. More and more these days I am glad Trek is a job and not a fandom, though every week I feel the original series pulling me back in, making me forget all that came after.

And speaking of reliving fandoms in a state of blissful purity, I must report that Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World holds up to memory as very few things do. This was my eighth viewing on a big screen, and I can't even guess how many times I've watched it in widescreen on DVD and in fullscreen when it just happened to be on HBO when the TV got turned on. Once again there were little things I've noticed that I never noticed before, big things that moved me just as much this time as before...I fell in love with Russell's Jack Aubrey all over again even though I broke up with Russell over the telephone incident (*snerk*) and even though I had fallen in love with Jack in the books, who is somewhat different from Russell's, and with O'Brian's Stephen, who is even more different from Paul Bettany's.

I have some bad associations with M&C as well as good ones. In many ways the people I met there were the most volatile of any fandom I've ever been in, though maybe it's just that it's such a small online fandom compared to Star Trek, LOTR and HP so it's easier to keep running into the same issues over and over, from the ones who believe nobody has any business writing fan fiction or having an opinion without having read 40 volumes of Napoleonic history to the ones who are convinced that their personal interpretation of the Aubrey/Maturin relationship is the only correct one and everyone else is in denial or deluded. I did most of my talking about and writing about M&C with someone with whom I am no longer in touch, and on the rare occasions when I look back on the fic I wrote, I scarcely even recognize it as mine. And I've learned a huge amount since that first viewing about ships and naval warfare and the historical figures upon whom these people were based.

All that said, I watched the movie completely engrossed in it and forgetting all extraneous associations, positive and negative, just being awed again at what a damn good, satisfying, well-made film it is. It was introduced by a staff member from the AFI Silver Theatre (that's the American Film Institute's venue in Silver Spring, around the corner from the Borders where we went to the Harry Potter party with Jennifer Cutting's Ocean Orchestra), a guy who had apparently met Peter Weir and either knew things I'd never read or at least sounded like he did. *g* I also had the lovely surprise of running into at the theater, whom I have known since before LiveJournal; I believe that the last time I saw her in person, we were seeing The Majestic, so it's been a ridiculously long time and even predates my falling back into the slash fold. I probably scared her with the intensity of my geekery but what the hell, she's known me long enough to expect it!

Then we drove home along the (smelly) C&O Canal listening to My Hand, My Heart because I needed to hear Russell singing "I Miss My Mind," the song that incorporates the Boccherini from the movie (my younger son calls this "the Broken Weenie," hence the Crowe melody is "the Broken Weenie song"). And I discovered that the photos I snapped with my Palm's low-tech camera out the front window as we drove past the building where we got married actually came out tolerably:

This is the intersection of Wisconsin Avenue and M Street in the heart of Georgetown. That red brick building with the white upper levels used to be a restaurant called Pisces. was one of my bridesmaids., Hee, nostalgia trip.

Am very, very behind on comments, e-mail, etc. but I have made a dent in putting tags on my entries. Please forgive me, shall be much better once school starts!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Poem for Thursday

Patroling Barnegat
By Walt Whitman

Wild, wild the storm, and the sea high running,
Steady the roar of the gale, with incessant undertone muttering,
Shouts of demoniac laughter fitfully piercing and pealing,
Waves, air, midnight, their savagest trinity lashing,
Out in the shadows there milk-white combs careering,
On beachy slush and sand spirts of snow fierce slanting,
Where through the murk the easterly death-wind breasting,
Through cutting swirl and spray watchful and firm advancing,
(That in the distance! is that a wreck? is the red signal flaring?)
Slush and sand of the beach tireless till daylight wending,
Steadily, slowly, through hoarse roar never remitting,
Along the midnight edge by those milk-white combs careering,
A group of dim, weird forms, struggling, the night confronting,
That savage trinity warily watching.


My in-laws picked up my children for a couple of days of camping after lunch today (and after younger son's orthodontist appointment, which ran over an hour as they decided to do x-rays to figure out why his adult incisor hasn't moved down to take the place of the baby tooth and gave him the unwelcome news that if it hasn't budged in six weeks, they will pull the baby tooth next to it). We all went out to California Tortilla (again! but everyone likes it!) and tried to make sure the kids had their bathing suits, their toothbrushes, their Game Boys, their stuffed snakes (because who can go camping without a stuffed snake), enough underwear for a week and all the rest.

So my husband and I had a quiet child-free evening drinking Bailey's and watching Visions of Scotland on PBS. It was marvelous, even with the pledge drive interruptions, and I am very sad that the PBS web site does not list the musical credits. Now I can't decide whether to campaign to go to Scotland or Ireland next, or southwest England. I need someone to hire me to write a travel book on the British Isles, dammit! Speaking of which, my son's orthodontist is evidently an science buff, as they have Discover, Psychology Today and the like in the office. While my son was getting his braces realigned, I read "Mystery Man of Stonehenge" about the archer discovered in Wiltshire in Smithsonian and "The Anglo-Saxon Prince" about the seventh-century burial site in Archaeology and the latter was so interesting that I asked the receptionist if I could borrow their photocopier and make a copy. Then my older son and I sat there discussing Stonehenge and everyone else in the office looked at us as if we were total geeks. Which we are, heh.

Treasure from the wreck of La Nuestra Senora de Atocha at the Discover Sea Museum on the upper floor of Sea Shell City in Fenwick Island.

Here one finds treasure from Spanish and American shipwrecks off the Atlantic coast...

...and from ships built across the Atlantic. These are from the wreck of the White Star Line's R.M.S. Republic... is this deck light.

From some of the earliest colonial ships, a cannon and shot brought up from offshore.

Weapons, buttons, dice and other artifacts from the Revolutionary and Civil War eras.

Items from the wreck of the Faithful Steward.

From a Native American boat, a club made from a walrus penis bone. Yes really. The Eskimos called it an Oosik.

Souvenirs from Sea Shell City of the upstairs museum -- a treasure box and a wreck painted on a cowrie shell.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Poem for Wednesday

Dismantling the House
By Stephen Dunn

Rent a flatbed with a winch.
With the right leverage
anything can be hoisted, driven off.

Or the man with a Bobcat comes in,
then the hauler with his enormous truck.
A leveler or a lawyer does the rest;

experts always are willing to help.
The structure was old, rotten in spots.
Hadn't it already begun to implode?

Believe you've just sped the process up.
Photographs, toys, the things that break
your heart—let's trust

they would have been removed,
perhaps are safe with the children
who soon will have children of their own.

It's over. It's time for loss to build
its tower in the yard where you
are merely a spectator now.

Admit you'd like to find something
discarded or damaged, even gone,
and lift it back into the world.


It was a rainy Tuesday, so I took the kids to see Sky High (their choice -- I pushed first for March of the Penguins which they rejected as too informational, then The Island which they just didn't feel like seeing). I was expecting to be bored and was very pleasantly surprised; the plot is utterly predictable and you can see some of the gags coming for several minutes, but it's also sweet and earnest and reasonably funny and well-acted. I am tempted to talk about all the ways in which it seems to rip off The X-Men, The Incredibles, Spy Kids and even Harry Potter, but I liked it better than the first three and there are even some advantages in the female character department over HPB, though it's rather Dawson's Creek in the romance department. My expectations were pretty low which might be why I enjoyed it so much, but given how disappointing I have found a lot of this year's movies, this was a delightful surprise. It's worth the money for the coming out scene alone.

My in-laws are taking the kids camping in Pennsylvania from Wednesday afternoon through Saturday afternoon (in the morning younger son has an orthodontist appointment), so in the late afternoon we played games (my mother beat older son at Scrabble; younger son quit playing Mystery at Hogwarts with me because I refused to let him throw back an H card he didn't like). Around this I managed to get three articles written; I know there will be people here interested to know that Connor Trinneer will be guest starring on Stargate Atlantis, and that Kate Mulgrew has once again opened her big stupid mouth and pissed off both her lesbian fans and a lot of Catholics -- I swear that woman needs a filter! (She's all yours, , heh.)

Otherwise, I attempted to secure 's place in hell and decided to put my LJ colors back to the same ones I have had for so long because I am really that boring, though I am very fond of my new layout and might even play with the font sizes a little. (, I meant to call you back but this late hour is my first time child-free all day!) And have I mentioned that I am seeing Master & Commander again on a big screen Thursday night and I am very happy about this? *g* In honor of my seafaring mood, today, to go with the crabs in Baltimore, I bring you...

Tropical reef-patterned dolphin by a mural in the game store courtyard, part of Rehoboth's public art display.

Sexy dolphin in a hula skirt.

Rainbow dolphin by the hippie clothing store, Sunshine Octopus.

Statue of Liberty dolphin with Rehoboth water tower in the background.

Mosaic tiled dolphin.

A bright undersea-decorated dolphin.

Funky surrealist dolphin.

Floral dolphin.

And outside the pub, an Irish dolphin.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Poem for Tuesday

The Book of Pilgrimage, II, 22
By Rainer Maria Rilke
Translated by Anita Barrows

You are the future,
the red sky before sunrise
over the fields of time.

You are the cock's crow when night is done,
You are the dew and the bells of matins,
maiden, stranger, mother, death.

You create yourself in ever-changing shapes
that rise from the stuff of our days --
unsung, unmourned, undescribed,
like a forest we never knew.

You are the deep innerness of all things,
the last word that can never be spoken.
To each of us you reveal yourself differently:
to the ship as coastline, to the shore as a ship.


I feel reasonably accomplished tonight because I have finished all my trip laundry, saw for California Tortilla and a DVD (Close My Eyes, because what can beat naked Clive Owen, garrulous Alan Rickman and hot sibling incest), gotten my kids to a friend's house and back, burned trip photos for my parents, sent her late birthday present, wrote three articles for TrekToday, answered untold numbers of comments, finished drafting Snucius #4 and wrote bare-bones outline porn with while helping my son with Scrabble (he beat so I am pleased with myself, heh).

For the first time since right after I got my journal in 2002, I have a new layout! I wanted to switch to S2 so that I could use tags and also to keep my sidebar content. Many thanks to for discovering it for me. There's information about it here and a community, .

And thanks to the wonderful I discovered that the Loews in Georgetown is showing Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World on the big screen this Thursday night and was giving away free passes online, so I now have a pass for me and to go see the movie at the same theater where we first saw it, also on a free pass won online, several days before it opened nationally. We went out for Thai food first and I expected that to be the highlight of the evening, as I was apathetic about the naval story and only lukewarm when it came to Russell Crowe. I did not know when I left home that evening that it would change my life. So I am very, very happy to get to relive the experience, also for free and in the very same theater!

A crane being mimicked by a goose at the Salisbury Zoo.

A bobcat demonstrates that cats will be cats, even wild ones.

Here's a llama, there's a llama, and another little llama...

Flamingoes show off their absurd sleeping positions.

Cranky warm rhea.

While one otter lounges on a raft, the other goes for a swim.

A pelican in the waterfowl lake.

Prairie dogs brave the heat to retrieve their lunch.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Poem for Monday

True Love
By Sharon Olds

In the middle of the night, when we get up
after making love, we look at each other in
complete friendship, we know so fully
what the other has been doing. Bound to each other
like mountaineers coming down from a mountain,
bound with the tie of the delivery-room,
we wander down the hall to the bathroom, I can
hardly walk, I wobble through the granular
shadowless air, I know where you are
with my eyes closed, we are bound to each other
with huge invisible threads, our sexes
muted, exhausted, crushed, the whole
body a sex -- surely this
is the most blessed time of my life,
our children asleep in their beds, each fate
like a vein of abiding mineral
not discovered yet. I sit
on the toilet in the night,
you are somewhere in the room,
I open the window and snow has fallen in a
steep drift, against the pane, I
look up, into it,
a wall of cold crystals, silent
and glistening, I quietly call to you
and you come and hold my hand and I say
I cannot see beyond it. I cannot see beyond it.


Another by Sharon Olds. I posted this one before, long ago, but it's worth repeating.

Today it was nearly 100 degrees, I had laundries, I had work, I had lots of phone calls and things to drop off various places and the kids were stir-crazy and in the middle of the afternoon we started driving to Great Falls to take a short walk, decided that it was too hot to be bearable even for a brief time outdoors by the river, so we stayed on River Road until we hit the beltway and ended up downtown at the National Museum of Natural History for a couple of hours, looking at dinosaurs and minerals in air-conditioned bliss.

Then we came home to all the insanity we had left earlier, had dinner, talked to both sets of parents (my in-laws tell me that contrary to all expectations, some groundhogs have come back! I am so hoping that Maximus is one of them!) and tried to get schedules in order for later in the week. I am wiped out, so I shall just post some trip photos from St. Michael's...

The 1909 log bottom crab dredger Old Point, now being restored at the boat yard.

The Lady Katie and the Rosie Parks at the Potomac River-Chesapeake Bay confluence.

Hooper Strait Lighthouse with Mister Jim docked in front. This yacht, built to look like an oyster buyboat, was built at Richardson's Boat Yard and named for Jim Richardson, for whom the maritime musem in Cambridge is also named.

Inside the lighthouse, an old heater and stove. Look at that waffle iron!

Blue crab caught in a trap on the waterman's wharf...

...placed below the boardwalk, where the maritime museum staff pull out crabs and eel all afternoon.

A boat from early this century being restored in the boat shop, where a wooden canoe and sailboat were also being built from scratch.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Poem for Sunday

The Unswept
By Sharon Olds

Broken bay leaf. Olive pit.
Crab leg. Claw. Crayfish armor.
Whelk shell. Mussel shell. Dogwinkle. Snail.
Wishbone tossed unwished on. Test
of sea urchin. Chicken foot.
Wrasse skeleton. Hen head,
eye shut, beak open as if
singing in the dark. Laid down in tiny
tiles, by the rhyparographer,
each scrap has a shadow -- each shadow cast
by a different light. Permanently fresh
husks of the feast! When the guest has gone,
the morsels dropped on the floor are left
as food for the dead -- O my characters,
my imagined, here are some fancies of crumbs
from under love's table.


From Poet's Choice by Robert Pinsky in The Washington Post Book World, a column on one of my favorite living poets, Sharon Olds, who as Pinsky observes has not only been taught and admired (I discovered her in a women's poetry seminar in college) but decried and attacked. "In other words, Sharon Olds must be doing something right," says Pinsky, who believes the appeal of her work stems from her reporting of physical and emotional experience.

"In 'The Unswept' she deploys a word that helps define her characteristic territory," Pinsky notes. "It is a word that nearly every reader will need to look up, as I did when I first read the poem. The poem seems to ask us to look it up, as a way of recognizing a vital overlap between our arcane labels and gritty realities...a 'rhyparographer,' says my Oxford English Dictionary , is 'a painter of mean or sordid subjects.' There's a defiant wisdom in the poet's use of this almost preposterously special term: The visual work of art described here has both a literal and a symbolic power. That is, the tiny rectangles, each depicting a scrap made 'permanently fresh' by the painter, have evocative power. But figuratively, the phrases 'each scrap has a shadow' and 'each shadow cast by a different light' suggest a poetic as well as a moral paradigm: attending to the darkness cast by every least thing, and honoring the different lights in which each thing can be seen. Olds's intellectual energy links that passage of darkness and light, shadow and attention, to the force of a superstition: The morsels that fall under a table are left 'as food for the dead.' The implication is that attention to what is 'mean or sordid' may be a means of elegy: a way to honor the past. The fish bones and chicken heads are left over from the joy and sustenance of a meal, and they are emblems of death and how closely it relates to our joy and sustenance. In a similar way, the poem links the mean word 'crumbs' to the evocative word 'fancies' with its suggestion of different kinds of imagining and eating and writing and decorating.

Saturday we had to check out by 10 a.m., so after packing up and getting everything into the van, we drove away from the shore to the zoo at Salisbury -- an excellent free zoo and public park at the edge of a town that has clearly seen better days, as its large mall is sitting empty with grass growing in the enormous parking lot. (A new highway was built several years ago and we suspect that cars that used to pass through Salisbury and stop for lunch now bypass it on the new roads, hurting its tourist commerce.) The center of the zoo is a large artificial lake filled with a wide variety of waterfowl -- geese, ducks, swans, herons, a couple of cranes -- as well as South American rheas and llamas, inspiring younger son to sing the llama song repeatedly. There are also bears, otters, monkeys, iguanas, a jaguar, a bobcat, an ocelot...many of the usual smaller suspects, though none of the larger African animals like the National Zoo has.

After lunch we drove to St. Michael's, a historic city famous for tricking the British during the War of 1812 by putting lights in trees and on ship masts so that the British bombarded the wrong location, situated where the Potomac River joins the Chesapeake Bay. It's now home to the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, where there is an 1879 lighthouse, a boat yard and restoration shed, the buyboat Thor which is now on land for kids to explore, a waterman's wharf where kids can pull up traps full of blue crabs and eel, an indoor oyster dredgeboat and big exhibit on Bay oyster fishing, collections on steamboats and the transformation of the Bay from working fishery to tourist attraction, and collections on Bay naval and historical history. It's a spectacular museum, a bit like Mystic Seaport without the historical reenactors wandering through, but it was nearly 100 degrees and we spent far more time in the indoor exhibits than the hands-on ship and fishing demonstrations outside.

We had dinner at the Crab Claw, a seafood restaurant on the premises (had to have one last meal of crab soup, crab dip, etc.) and drove home in the evening over a traffic-free Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Unpacking was enlivened by the terrible Redskins game and nearly-as-terrible Ravens game. It's going to be a long football season. Since I am behind on posting trip photos, you get Lewes, Delaware tonight; I will get to the Salisbury and St. Michaels photos later in the week!

Lighthouse lens in the Lewes Marine Museum. Cape Henlopen lost one lighthouse to war and another to erosion; there has been no light there since it fell into the ocean.

The marine museum is located at Cannonball House, so named because this shot lodged in the foundation during the War of 1812 when the British bombarded the city in April 1813.

The last Lewes pilot skiff, used before World War II to bring pilots to navigate ships in the bay, and a pair of cannons used during the bombardment of Lewes during the War of 1812.

Originally the Dutch settlement of Zwaanendael, Lewes was renamed by William Penn after the original settlers were massacred by a local tribe of resentful Native Americans. The Zwaanendael Museum, above, was built in 1931 to celebrate 300 years since the town's foundation.

Fake mermaid at the Zwaanendael Museum, made from a preserved monkey's head and fish body of the sort that were apparently popular pranks for a time...there was one in the Discovery Museum in Fenwick Island too.

The lightship Overfalls, one of several ships which replaced lighthouses to help guide ships in and send signals.

The dock at Lewes out the portholes of the Lightship Overfalls.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Poem for Saturday

To Sleep
By John Keats

O soft embalmer of the still midnight!
  Shutting with careful fingers and benign
Our gloom-pleased eyes, embower'd from the light,
  Enshaded in forgetfulness divine;
O soothest Sleep! if so it please thee, close,
  In midst of this thine hymn, my willing eyes,
Or wait the amen, ere thy poppy throws
  Around my bed its lulling charities;
Then save me, or the passèd day will shine
  Upon my pillow, breeding many woes;
Save me from curious conscience, that still lords
  Its strength for darkness, burrowing like a mole;
Turn the key deftly in the oilèd wards,
  And seal the hushèd casket of my soul.


Friday while my parents had lunch with friends, and I and the kids drove to Lewes, "the first city in the first state," founded in 1631 by the Dutch. We went first to the Zwaanendael Museum, which focuses on maritime history with a Dutch and Native American emphasis, though its centerpiece is artifacts from the locally shipwrecked HMS DeBraak, taken over from the Dutch by the British and destroyed in a storm after being separated from its convoy.

From there we went for lunch at a local coffee shop, then went to the Lewes Historical Society Marine Museum in the Cannonball House, built in 1765 and damaged when the British bombarded Lewes in 1813. This museum has the lens from one of the lighthouses since fallen into the ocean, a chest carried on a ship from the Spanish Armada, a lantern from the USS Constitution, a 400-year-old locally made Indian canoe, the last Lewes pilot skiff and a pair of British cannons used in the 1813 bombardment. On the way back to Bethany we stopped in Rehoboth once more because I wanted to go to Mostly Irish, the gift shop with souvenirs from the British isles including silver jewelry and imported Cadbury chocolate.

Then we met up with my parents and went to the beach a last time. Despite gorgeous skies, the water was even rougher than the day before with white-capped waves out as far as we could see; we did not swim for very long, as it was hard work fighting the rip currents, but we found a few last mole crabs and took the kids to the pool in the Sea Colony high rise complex. On the drive to Sea Colony West this time we saw a rabbit, swans, ducks and a turtle near the different lakes. We ate at the condo, did laundry and packed to leave in the morning, when we are driving to St. Michael's.

Ghost crab lurking in the sand dunes at Bethany Beach.

I'm not sure whether this is a ghost crab, a fiddler crab or a stone crab lurking in his hole in the dunes.

These little clams can be found quite often near the ocean, digging with incredible speed into the sand.

Above a school stadium in Lewes, osprey have built a nest. Here one of the adults is guarding it from the next lamppost over.

A handful of Atlantic mole crabs.

A turtle surfaces amidst the plants and algae in a Sea Colony roadside swamp.

Frogs in another area of Sea Colony swamp.

Dragonflies, too, are quite common in the swampy areas.