Category Archives: eastern point

Seals Basking…In the Fog?

Seals Brace Cove Brace's Rock ©Kim Smith 2015The seals appeared as delighted as we were for today’s return of warmer temperatures! I counted 22, five on one rock alone, socializing and lollygagging on the rocks at Brace Cove, despite the complete lack of sunshine.Seals Brace Cove Brace's Rock Eastern point Gloucester ©Kim Smith 2015

Niles Pond driftwood ©Kim Smith 2015JPGThe giant twelve-foot log tossed by the sea, up and over onto the Niles Pond side of the causeway, is seemingly supported by nothing but frozen snow. And Niles Pond is still thawing, with only a small cluster of mallards huddled together in the center of the ice. I hope the swans return soon!

Niles Pond frozen ©Kim Smith 2015

They That Go Down to the Sea in Ships

Snowy morning scenes from the boulevard and Eastern Point Lighthouse.

They that go down to the sea in ships.

A video posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

The Fisherman 's Family

A video posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

Snowy Day Eastern Point Lighthouse

A video posted by Kim Smith (@kimsmithdesigns) on

Tremendous News for Gloucester

TS Eliot’s Restless Ghost Finds Home in Seaside Idyll

The Guardian UK

February 14, 2015

By Robert McCrum

Last September, listeners to National Public Radio, the US equivalent of Radio 4, heard an elderly New England widow, Dana Hawkes, describe how, at home in Massachusetts, her late husband would sometimes say “he used to see TS Eliot’s ghost.”

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TS Eliot at his house, 18 Edgemoor in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Photograph: © Estate of T.S. Eliot

There is something apt in this claim. The author of Four Quartets and Murder in the Cathedral, who was born in St Louis on 26 September 1888, but lived and died in London, has always projected a rather spectral persona.

From his haunting recitation of The Waste Land (“Unreal city …”) to his cadaverous alter ego, Old Possum, and his fascination with clairvoyants such asMadame Sosostris, Eliot has always been a sombre, other-worldly figure in the literary landscape.

In his afterlife, as an Anglo-American literary giant with a long shadow, the poet’s psychic exile has never been quite fully commuted. Despite a memorial stone in Poet’s Corner and the kind of instant recognition known to Shakespeare, Keats and Wordsworth, TS Eliot has no shrine to equal Stratford, Hampstead or Grasmere.

Even in his native America, Eliot has remained homeless. In New England, Concord celebrates Henry Thoreau. Emily Dickinson is remembered in Amherst, and Nathaniel Hawthorne in Salem.

In contrast, the founding father of Modernism and author of The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock, seems remote and unaffiliated. For all his British citizenship and membership of the Church of England, Eliot has become strangely rootless.

But now, 50 years after his death, and two years after the passing of Valerie, his beloved second wife, Eliot’s ghost is being appeased. The Observer has learned that, in a remarkable coup, the poet’s estate has just acquired the Eliot family’s summer house by the sea, in Gloucester, Massachusetts. READ FULL STORY HERE

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18 Edgemoor, Eastern Point ~ The Eliot family house in Massachusetts. Photograph: © Estate of T.S. Eliot

Not only has the estate bought the house (for $1.3m), it plans to use it to promote Eliot’s life and works to his American readers. Reihill said: “By this time next year we hope to offer up to six poets, essayists or playwrights at a time a peaceful retreat to work on their projects. We’d also like to work with institutions of higher education to make it a centre for weekend symposia on Eliot or on poets and poetry related to him.”

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View from the porch at 18 Edgemoor

8fc3e992-f4e5-4cc9-a34d-4e17bef04ec9-2060x1590Young Tom with his mother at the house in 1895. Photograph: © Estate of T.S. Eliot

a837a9d4-afbb-4945-ad0f-37ed841ad09c-2060x1236TS Eliot with his cousins Eleanor and Barbara Hinkley in Gloucester in 1897. Photograph: © Estate of T.S. Eliot

15af223f-8f88-47ba-83b2-66fd435218c5-2060x1236Tom sitting on the veranda in his sailor suit playing with his toy yacht, and reading.Photograph: © Estate of T.S. Eliot

Shared on FB by Eastern Point Lit House co-founder Chris Anderson.

Getting All My Ducks in a Row for Trip to Santa Monica

Niles Pond Ducks in a Row ©Kim Smith 2015Niles Pond Ducks 

This week, with the exception of Thursday, I have pre-scheduled my posts with a series of photos from last Sunday’s early morning walk as I am not sure how easy it will be to post from California. I am hoping to fill my time with additional posts from LA, if doable. Liv reports it may be in the seventies this week!

Monarchs Eyed for Possible Inclusion Under US Endangered Species Protection

Cape Ann Milkweed and Monarch Habitat, Eastern Point

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is considering adding Monarchs as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act. A one-year review is underway to monitor the butterfly’s status. Since the 1990s the population has plummeted from about one billion to approximately 35 million. That may seem like a substantial number, but the Monarchs need stronger numbers to be resilient to other threats such as harsh weather.

The reason for the decline is primarily because of loss of milkweed habitat in the agricultural heartland of the United States. With the development of Monsanto’s Roundup and Roundup Ready (glyphosate resistant) seed, farmers are now able to spray glyphosate directly on their corn, soybean, and sorghum crops. Roundup also destroys milkweed. Secondly, with the push for ethanol, farmers have begun to plant corn on conservation land.

If the Fish and Wildlife Service determines that the Monarchs are threatened, they will set aside land for milkweed.

You can read more about the the Monarch Butterfly Endangered Species Act here:

FAQs on the Monarch Butterfly Endangered Species Act Petition

Monarch Butterfly Wildflower Joe-pye ©Kim Smith 2012Monarch Butterfly Drinking Nectar from Native Wildflower Joe-pye Weed

You can learn more about the Monarch migration and the loss of Monarch habitat from Professor Tom Emmel here ~ 

Day’s End Brace Cove

Is this flotsom or jetsam or neither?

Flotsom Marine Debris Brace Cove Gloucester MA Beach ©Kim Smith 2014Large Tangled Mass Washed Up at Brace Cove  ~ approximately 8 feet wide by 5 feet high

I’ve always used the words interchangeably to describe any debris washed up on the beach, not realizing there is a notable difference. From the NOAA website: “Flotsam and jetsam are terms that describe two types of marine debris associated with vessels. Flotsam is defined as debris in the water that was not deliberately thrown overboard, often as a result from a shipwreck or accident. Jetsam describes debris that was deliberately thrown overboard by a crew of a ship in distress, most often to lighten the ship’s load. The word flotsam derives from the French word floter, to float. Jetsam is a shortened word for jettison.

Under maritime law the distinction is important. Flotsam may be claimed by the original owner, whereas jetsam may be claimed as property of whoever discovers it. If the jetsam is valuable, the discoverer may collect proceeds received though the sale of the salvaged objects.”

It is also noted on the website that the majority of trash that covers our beaches and floats in our oceans comes from sewers and storm drains, as well as from recreational activities, namely from picnickers and beach goers.

Little Lost Dog Bengi at Brace Cove Update

Update: GMG reader Lisa provides the following link: http://www.lostmydoggie.com/details.cfm?petid=78091. Please contact the owner if you see Bengi.

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To the owner of the little white lost dog Bengi, as of 2:35 today, Thursday, he is at Brace Cove. A bunch of us tried to catch him, but he does not want to be caught. He’s going up and down the beach and tearing through the deeply thicketed path. He does not have a tag. Please let us know when Bengi finds his way home. Thank you so much.

Lisa writes: 

I too saw little Bengi on Niles beach on Christmas. We had no luck catching him. Above is the link to him but no contact to the owner. Does anyone know were he belongs in Gloucester? It says this little fella has been missing since Dec 19. The police said he was reported running around Rocky Neck on Christmas Eve. If anyone knows his owner please tell them to search East Gloucester!! Last I know the little fella was seen on Grapevine.

Niles Pond Brace Cove Berm Restoration Update

Niles Pond Brace Cove berm causeway restoration ©Kim Smith 2014Progress continues on the restoration of the barrier that protects Niles Pond from becoming Brace Cove’s salt marsh.

Niles Pond Brace Cove berm causeway restoration -3 ©Kim Smith 2014.JPGThe native pussy willow trees remain intact while much of the invasive phragmites appear to have been removed. Come spring, perhaps Seaside Goldenrod and other tough, salt tolerant natives will be planted to help hold the rocks in place.

Niles Pond Brace Cove berm causeway restoration -4 ©Kim Smith 2014.JPG

RB Strong excavator bucket ©Kim Smith 2014Beautiful R.B. Strong Excavator Bucket ~ Do you think the lettering and decorative design were created by soldering metal to the bucket? The decoration must be incredibly well applied to survive daily earth-moving.

Outstanding Cape Ann Environmental News: Niles Pond and Brace Cove Causeway Restoration Underway!

Niles Pond Brace Cove casueway restoration excavator ©Kim Smith 2014.The berm, or causeway, separating Brace Cove and Niles Pond is undergoing extensive maintenance.

As has been reported here on GMG many times, the berm was severely damaged by a succession of storms, very notably after Superstorm Sandy. The causeway is also increasingly at risk because the Brace Cove breakwater has deteriorated, which means that the berm is harder hit during extreme weather.

Niles Pond Brace Cove casueway restoration excavator -2 ©Kim Smith 2014.

Over time, the rocks that were used to build the causeway have gradually been swept into the pond. The excavator is permitted to scoop up the rocks from the Niles Pond side to rebuild the height of the causeway. No rocks from the Brace Cove side were used to restore the causeway.

Niles Pond Brace Cove casueway restoration excavator -3 ©Kim Smith 2014.

The restoration of the berm is ecological progress at its best. By fortifying the causeway, the uniquely beautiful environment, where freshwater Niles Pond meets salty Brace Cove, will continue to remain a sanctuary for Cape Ann wildlife.

Niles Pond Brace Cove casueway restoration -2 ©Kim Smith 2014.

Niles Pond Brace Cove casueway restoration ©Kim Smith 2014The narrowest strip of land separating a body of fresh water from the sea. 

Niles Pond at Risk

Niles Pond or Brace Cove

Oh What a Tangled Web We Weave

Brace Cove Seals Sleeping at Daybreak

Brace, Brace’s, Brase’s, Bracy’s ~ How Do You Refer to Brace Cove and Brace Rock?

Brace Cove Panorama ©Kim Smith 2014Click to View Full Size

Reader Cynthia Hill wrote the following in response to a recent GMG post, Thanksgiving Day Brace Cove Gloucester:

Hi Kim,
Can someone prove to me that this is Brace Cove, when for 65 years it’s been Brace’s Cove?
Old maps show it both ways, but I spent a third of my life there ~ always at Brace’s Cove.

When I was small, all our parents “managed Brace’s”, kept it clean and raked, had many a great
clam bakes in front of the Kaknes’ house, all to keep us kids safe during the polio scare.

Every time I see your beautiful photos, I think Brace’s Cove….I’ve explored maps at Fred’s.

Would love it if an “old timer” such as myself, could help sort this out.

Happy Holidays,
Cynthia

Hi Cynthia, Here’s what I found in Joe Garland’s book Eastern Point, page 11, 2nd paragraph:

“Incidentally, this is one of the earliest references to what should properly be called Brace Cove, variously identified as Bracy’s and Brase’s in contemporary documents.  Viewed as a proper name, the etymology leads to a dead end; but rid yourself of that mental set, and the derivation is surpassingly direct: a brace, from the Middle English and Old French, was an arm. Brace is an obsolete word for an arm of the sea, an inlet–a perfect figure of speech in the case of the stunning cove whose waters are so nearly embraced by the lethal, pincer-like arms of Brace Rock and Bemo Ledge.”

Cynthia, I too have seen it spelled several different ways on antique and newer maps. Perhaps if they have a spare moment, some of our “old timer” readers will weigh in–it would be very much appreciated. Thank you!

Brace Cove Vertical Panorama ©Liv HauckVertical Panorama with Moon Courtesy Liv Hauck

Framing up Again

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Along with my recovery comes more energy, and I’m able to frame more photos at the gallery. On Saturday, I framed “Brace Cove, Eastern Point” and the map “Pigeon Cove, 1884.” I think we’ll be in pretty good shape for the holiday season, as I continue to deck the walls.

The Earliest Sunsets Are Not the Winter Solstice!

Late afternoon light through the trees Gloucester ©Kim Smith 2014Late October Eastern Point, Gloucester

The weatherman caught my attention this morning when he mentioned that in our region the earliest sunsets do not take place on the winter solstice (December 21st).

Late afternoon light through the trees Gloucester -2 ©Kim Smith 2014. copy

Take heart fellow-lovers-of-sunlight, Gloucester’s earliest sunset of the year will be on December 14th, at 4:09 pm. We’re on the side of gaining late day light everyday thereafter!

Late afternoon light through the trees Gloucester -3 ©Kim Smith 2014.

New Film: A Flight of Monarchs

When watching, know that the first two minutes of the film were shot in Gloucester. I think you will be dazzled by the sheer numbers of Monarchs that travel through Cape Ann’s backyards and meadows during the peak of migration.

I began photographing the Monarchs in 2006, which was a year when we had an extraordinary number of Monarchs visiting our shores. At that time, I became determined that if ever again this phenomenon were to occur on Cape Ann, I was going to have the ability to document on film, rather than only through still images, this beautiful event for my community. It’s hard to imagine without observing and here you can see what I have wanted to share.

A Flight of Monarchs begins on a September day as first one and then passels of Monarchs begin to arrive to the fields and meadows of Cape Ann, carried across Massachusetts Bay on a tailwind. By the early evening light they begin to pour into the surrounding trees, clustering to stay warm in the branches furthest away from the prevailing breezes. The following morning as the sun begins to touch their wings, they alight from the trees, seeking the freshest wildflowers from which to drink nectar to help build their lipid reserves for the several thousand mile journey south. They drink and drink until the last of the sun’s rays dip below the tree line. As they arrived on a tailwind, they again depart, and are carried to the next gathering area. For coastal Monarchs, Allens Pond, which is located in Westport, Massachusetts is often the next stop.

In the next scene, the butterflies have arrived to the sacred oyamel fir forests of Angangueo, Michoacán, deep in the heart of the Trans-Mexican Volcanic Belt. It’s early morning and the butterflies are suspended in great primordial branched clusters that may become so heavy from the weight of so many butterflies the boughs of the trees bend to the breaking point. Later in the day, as the sun begins to warm their wings, the butterflies begin to stir. During the winter, it is imperative that the Monarch’s body temperature remains relatively low. They leave the sunniest branches in search of shade and a drink of water from nearby mountain streams. Occasionally in late February, as the air temperatures begin to warm with the coming springtime, for a short period during the day, the butterflies leave the trees all at once. This phenomenon is called a butterfly “explosion,” and is a truly magnificent event to observe.

A Flight of Monarchs is set to the evocative and tender “Fields of Blue,” written and performed by composer and guitarist Jesse Cook and his band, to which permission was granted by the artist for the purpose of this short film. Here is a link to Cook’s website. I highly, highly recommend attending a live performance of Jesse Cook and Company. As was I, you will be completely taken by their gorgeous music, exquisite artistry, and with Cook’s songwriting, will travel in beautiful melodies inspired from around the world.

I am currently editing my feature length documentary, Beauty on the Wing, which after months and months of organizing and editing three years of footage, is currently running at approximately twelve hours in length. At eleven hours too long, I have a great deal of editing to accomplish in the coming winter months!

A Flight of Monarchs presented here is the shorter version of the film that I created for the Berkshire Museum’s “Butterflies” exhibit. The first version is six minutes long and played on a continuous loop in the main gallery of the exhibit hall. The longer version will soon be posted on Vimeo.

 

Ken Duckworth Hosts Catcher in the Rye Event

Michelle Anderson and Mandy ©Kim Smith 2014

Michelle and Mandy

Ken Duckworth moderated a packed house at The Eastern Point Lit House Writer’s Book Club event, held at Duckworth’s on Sunday evening. Ken did a superb job both leading the lively and interesting discussion about Catcher in the Rye, and preparing a beautiful and delightfully delicious dinner for the attendees.

Ken Duckworth ©Kim Smoith 2014

Jenn Monroe Barbara Boudreau Jenn Monroe and Barbara Boudreau

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Ken’s beautiful dinner menu included out-of-this-world delicious meatloaf, yummy pan-fried potatoes, one of my very favorite veggies, broccoli rabe, deviled eggs, shrimp, fresh fruit and cheeses, and several fabulous salads.

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Ken Duckworth Meatload ©kim Smith 2014 Writer's Book Club Duckworths ©Kim Smith 2014

The Writer’s Book Club at Duckworth’s is taking the month of December off, but will resume again in January with possibly a potluck dinner at the Eastern Point Lit House (Duckworth’s closes for several weeks during January). We’ll keep you updated about the details on GMG.

CatcherInTheRye1Although published in 1951, it was noteworthy to learn that Salinger wrote his first version of Catcher in the Rye, a play titled “Slight Rebellion of Madison” in 1946, while in the Army stationed in Normandy.

Catcher in the Rye has sold over 65,000,000 million copies and continues to sell approximately 250,000 copies each year.Dream_Catcher_(memoir)

 

Check Out Rainforest Publications

Rainforest Publications recently licensed one of my Monarch photos, which was shot on Eastern Point, for the cover of their newest pocket field guide, Butterflies of Mexico. You can get a preview of the new field guide by clicking here; look towards the bottom of the page.

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I requested their field guide on Mexican Flowers, which Larry, the publisher, kindly sent along. I love it–the guide is beautifully illustrated, and well, just so pocketable! I wished I had it on my trip last winter to Agangueo to film the Monarchs and especially appreciate how the guide is organized by plant family as opposed to alphabetically.

If any of our world traveling GMG readers are planning a trip to Costa Rica, Mexico, Florida, Hawaii, Panama, Peru, California, Nicaragua, Belize, or the Pacific Northwest I recommend checking out their website, Rainforest Publications. Specific to each region, they offer field guides on marine animals, birds, orchids, wildflowers, butterflies, trees, reptiles, amphibians, and more. They even have a field guide for marine mammals of the North Atlantic. At only $5.95. I think this would be ideal for whale watchers (and for whale watching companies like Seven Seas to carry the guides).

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