540 feet

From my front yard, I watch the sun creep over the hill behind my shoulder lighting the street in front of me, beginning from the far end and slowly illuminating the blackness before me like a Mother peeling the blanket from her child’s sleepy head.

I live at approximately 540 feet above sea level. Some forecasters occasionally bemoan melting glaciers and rising sea levels, but I know it will be a long time before the Atlantic Ocean laps at my door.

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Sea ducks, coral reefs and sunscreen

Gulls and other birds feed as an incoming tide slams against the Maine coast.I recently spent part of a week-long vacation watching the ocean come and go, while a friend and fellow journalist attempted renewing a relationship with what last year had become his pet seagull. The incoming tides smashed and crashed against a huge rectangular boulder about the size of twin Chevrolet Carryalls stacked one atop the other. Every half-dozen or so waves would match timing and reinforce to send spray 30 to 40 feet in the air. But unlike the Chevy trucks, the rock notably did not move when several tons of ocean slammed into it’s side.

In front of and beside the granite outcrop, a hundred or so Common Eider ducks swam and dove for food stirred up by the incoming tide. As is usual (though there are exceptions), Eider males are the flashiest of the species. Their raiment is in starkly contrasting black and white. The women of the species clothe in finery of mostly gray and brown. Now and then, one or the other would stand up on the water to rearrange its wings, like someone rising from the dinner table to pull down a jacket or blouse. Then back to the bottom for another small fish or mussel.

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