The Prodigy’s Blog “Seagulls, Cormorants, and Dan”

May 30, 2016

Today's blog comes from one of my dad's mentors, Dan Sanders:


I have just passed through another decade of life like a freight train passing up a hobo. At this writing, I am moving head first through another Memorial Day weekend, one that would have been my 27th wedding anniversary except that heaven had other plans for my wife. The weather that both my wife and I loved has finally arrived on the shores of Rambling Harbor. In other words, it’s a hot one!

I seem to thrive when it’s hot, hot, hot, perhaps a product of spending the first years of my life in the south, or maybe not, but whatever the reasons, I like it hot. It’s not that I don’t feel the heat. Sophie Tucker said that she had been rich and poor and rich was better. To paraphrase, I’ve been hot and cold and hot is better. I become more reflective in the summer.

The beach I live near is not on a map. As a truck-driving friend (who knows New England like the back of his hand) once said, “Rambling Harbor! Rambling Harbor!! You can’t find Rambling Harbor if you don’t know where it is.” I like it that way. On the hottest weekend days, the main part of the beach, which has sand for castle building and where families and individuals gather for the day, is never crowded. There is also an isolated place that’s about a half-hour’s climb over rocks of varying sizes where you can be totally alone, and it feels like the edge of the earth. This area is under at least 20 feet water at high tide, so it is necessary to plan one’s trip accordingly or be ready to swim to shore. I have made friends with a few favorite boulders, seagulls, and cormorants. One large rock even has the feel of a reclining chair. But I’m not a sitter, I’m a roamer and a climber-over-rocks, dodging waves and looking for little life forms hidden in the shallow pools left by the ebbing tide.

Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau were considered to be transcendentalists. Transcendentalism is a $50 word for a life philosophy that says people and nature are inherently good and that self-reliance and intuition are the most important attributes. Once upon a time, I lived that life in the mountains of West Virginia, a story I tell on this website under the title Mountaintop Days. I have to admit, though, that as more and more decades have passed through this body, my mountaintop days will likely never come again. With a bad back and bad knees that some days rebel against even getting out of bed much less climbing over rocks, it’s not always an easy trip up and down the smooth part of my beach, never mind the boulders.

In a world that seems to be excelling in the loss of all rational thought, as we plunder the earth, rape the mountains, and pollute the sea, as more and more inhabitants of this earth disappear that were here long before humans and more and more humans seem to care less and less, my slow pilgrimage across the rocks and boulders to spend a few hours at the edge of the earth visited only by gulls and cormorants becomes even more important to me.

There will be more thoughts about this as well as some rock and roll history on the shores of Rambling Harbor. Join me there. This way to the shores of Rambling Harbor podcast.