August 27, 2011 § 16 Comments
A basket of ugly beach shoes sits by the door of this Maine rental cottage. Unlike Florida where bathers walk comfortably on the glossy satin of wet sand, the shore here is unkind to bare feet. Stones and boulders, periwinkles and broken mussel shells make ugly shoes a requirement. Each member of my family has found a pair that almost fits.
Sometimes the tide laps the bottom step of the wooden staircase down to the beach. Sometimes it is a long teetering walk across slick rocks to reach the water. The tidal exchange here is twelve feet. With each tide change the shore is rearranged, pebbles and shells swept up like a handful of jack’s and tossed down again.
From this vast, shifting collection I am carefully selecting the few rocks that will come home in my carry-on suitcase wrapped in dirty laundry. Once home I’ll arrange them on a windowsill, where they will become part of the personal landscape of artifacts in my home, proof that I’ve been places and done things.
August 9, 2011 § 4 Comments
The last documented sighting was made by one John Doolittle, a medical doctor turned veterinarian and animal behaviorist who lived in the English backwater of Puddleby on the Marsh.
Perhaps you are familiar with the good doctor’s writing. Here is his description of the Pushmi-Pullyu: “They have no tail, but a head at each end, and sharp horns on each head.”
Dr. Doolittle did more than describe the rare creature. After an extended voyage he brought one back with him to England. Seeing the creature for the first time his housekeeper, a Peking duck known as Dab-Dab remarked, “Lord save us! How does it make up its mind?”