My Family

Walking the Wall

On Saturday morning I got up early (though not as early as I’d intended – Julia was up several times and when the alarm went off at 5:15, I said to myself "um…no.") and took my camera and my cell phone and drove down to my sister’s house to get her, then get coffee, and then to to the end of the Sea Wall in Narragansett so we could walk the wall.

The Wall is basically the sea wall on one side and Ocean Road on the other, and you’re on the sidewalk on the ocean side of the road.  Many people are there every day, to walk the wall, or run it, jog it, rollerblade it, or just sit on the wall with coffee and the newspaper, breathing in the salty fresh air.

We were in luck – there was a parking spot close to one end of the wall – the non-beach end – so we parked and just sat on the wall a bit with our coffees while I geekily changed lenses a couple of times and my sister laughed at me. 

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It was probably not even quarter to seven yet.

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Way off in the back of that photo above, that’s Narragansett Beach.  We ended up walking there too.  But first things first. 

My sister thought it was about time we set off,

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and since she knows karate, I didn’t argue.  You can see the killer look in here eyes, can’t you?

So off we went.  And you know, all through the morning I found myself taking huge breaths of air and sighing contentedly on the exhale.  It was a morning of freedom.  No one asking me to make breakfast, no squabbles to referee, nothing.  I was just me.  With my sister.  Who is also probably my best friend.  We have the same sense of humor.  It’s often cruel humor – if you trip over something or fall down or slip on the ice and fall into a snow bank while you’re with us, please understand that deep down we DO care about your health and well-being, but first we have to laugh hysterically at how funny you looked in your moment out of control.  That’s what we’re like.  And it isn’t just strangers – we laugh like that at each other and at ourselves.  We have a whole slew of "falling stories" that still make us laugh, even if they happened when, say, I was in junior high or something.

But I digress.  My point was, for the morning, I was just me.  With my sister.  And that’s it.

If you look down over the wall, you see that it is "lined" with zillions of rocks, in all sizes.  They are soft-edged from the ocean’s constant and rhythmic caresses.  The ones higher up and closest to the wall are pale and kind of sandy with pale gray and terra cotta hues…

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And as you get closer to the water, they are dark and slick and wet and covered with seaweed and barnacles.

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As you walk, you can see The Towers ahead, and on the right, The Coast Guard House, a restaurant that has survived hurricanes and has the little brass plaques – indicating how high the water got inside – to prove it. 

(And please forgive the tilt of this photo – I was leaning out over the wall to get the shot and I didn’t really pay attention to how it might look all askew…)

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The morning was kind of hazy and cloudy at first…but then the sun started to push through…

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We passed the Towers and The Coast Guard House, and my sister noticed an Object of Interest on the ground near a bench.  She said "Take a picture!" So I did.  Here, Mere, just for you:

Ants on Cheese

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Right after these two buildings (and the ants on cheese) we got to a mass of beach roses just before the edge of Narragansett Beach.  I love beach roses.  I have a white one in my garden at home.  Here’s a pink one:

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As the wall curves around and becomes more of a beach wall than a sea wall you come upon a couple of beautiful metal sculptures…here’s one (with the re-furbishment-in-progress of the condos across the street as a backdrop):

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And here’s the other.  I’d like them in my front yard…

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And now, Narragansett Beach.  My favorite time of year to walk the beach is actually the middle of winter.  There’s a lot more interesting stuff washed up on the sand then, because the town isn’t trying to impress the tourists at that point.  But we still managed to find some interesting things to pick up or look at…

First of all, these interesting animal tracks:

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Looks like a few giant slugs were playing tag.

Ah…this is more like it…

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A little blue nugget of beach glass amid the rocks and shells.

And sunlight on the waves… 

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I took pictures of just about everything.  Digital cameras were made for people like me who go out and just are possessed with the desire to capture everything and then go back and weed out the junk later.  I have always been like this and I don’t think I am going to bother trying to change.

The mantra of the day, as I snapped off continuous shots of waves rolling in while on the "sports" setting became "because I can!"  I’m taking a zillion pictures of these waves BECAUSE I CAN!  I’m taking a picture of this seagull feather on the sand BECAUSE I CAN.

Of course, my sister, being my sister, had to mess with my IMPORTANT PURSUIT OF ART.

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That’s her big ol’ foot about to stomp on the delicate white feather against the rough and tumble backdrop of beach sand and rocks.

She has no respect for ART.

But I showed her, eventually.  This is a picture of her head as she bent down to pick up a rock or something.  She crocheted it herself.  The hat she’s wearing, not the rock.

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Cool, huh?

Well, I continued trying to take pictures of things along the beach that would capture the feel, the essence, the spirit of the place.  Like the lifeguard chairs, all white and clean looking…but she just kept…

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INTRUDING!

Fortunately, she didn’t intrude on EVERYTHING…

Doesn’t this make you heave a big sigh of peace and serenity?

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It certainly works for me.

Here are a few more from the walk.  We walked the entire length of the beach.  All along the way I’d stop, squat down, and photograph something on the sand, or shoot more pictures of the water, the birds, the building, the lifeguard chairs (without Mere’s head in the way) or whatever….I’m posting some more here, and I’ll probably upload more to my flickr page.  There were a lot.  BECAUSE I CAN!

Here we go…

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See her trying to intrude there at the bottom left – sneaking two-and-a-half toes into the frame.  She’s my younger sister.  It’s such typical younger sister behavior…

Look at her, laughing evilly at me…

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She laughed at me because I would stop and take pictures of things like a stray mitten…

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or a beetle…

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or a crab shell fragment…

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And she laughed when I said "oooh, erosion" softly to myself before shooting this one…

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well, I guess I did sound a little goofy with that.

But not half as goofy as I did when I spotted something lying on the sand up ahead and shrieked out "OOOOHHHHHHHH!" in my most excited tone, with a little squeal at the end.

Was it more beach glass?  No.  A pretty shell?  No. 

It was

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A young – or "schoolie" – striped bass carcass. 

We both burst out laughing about this – not about death on the beach, but about my response to it.  "OOOOOOOHHHHHHHH!" 

And then we saw this next thing and she shouted out excitedly "A Beach Fork!"  And here it is:

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Everything was funny.  I think I was giddy with salt sea air and freedom.  Or just giddy.  Who knows.  But it was such a fun, silly, relaxed way to begin my weekend.

Here, we have reached the end of the beach.  There’s a little inlet off to the left, and also to the left (for some reason I actually DIDN’T take a picture of this) a roped-off area where the endangered Piping Plovers were nesting.  I suppose I was giving them their privacy.  But anyway – we’ve walked the length of the beach…

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And now it’s time to head back, because I told Bill I’d be back by ten because his friend John will be coming over to take away (in Bill’s truck) a bunch of toys and things the kids have outgrown.  Things like Alex’s crib and the bouncy chair thing that both kids used, and Alex’s first two car seats, and an umbrella stroller, and I don’t remember what else.  John and his wife are expecting their first child in August, and we’re just happy to be getting this stuff out of our garage.  If they can use it, great, if not, they can toss it.  We are just grateful for the space.

But back to the beach…here’s the view as we start back.

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The sun has burned through the cloudy haze and people are starting (down the other end, where there is paid public access) to lay out their towels and slather the sunscreen on their children.  It’s the Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend – the official start of summer – and soon this beach will be PACKED.  Time to get going.  I much prefer the beach when it’s not full of people.

I say I’m not going to stop and take so many pictures, since we kind of need to hurry (so I can go back to her house and take pictures of her flowers before I go home) but then of course, in the next breath I say "I lie" and start finding cool stuff on the sand again.

Actually, Mere noticed these – three tiny mussel shells in some seaweed:

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And I saw this interesting little seaweed blobby thing – looks like maybe an alien embryo or something…

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We hurry, and hurry, and I take fewer shots…and we’re getting closer to the other end…

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There are the towers…

And we’re off the beach and walking back along the wall…

A look back…

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And suddenly I spot it…all alone…abandoned…

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Poor little boat.

We walk quickly back along the wall…

I take one last random picture – BECAUSE I CAN!

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And we were done.  We got in my car and headed back to her house so I could take pictures of flowers.  And I’ll post them, too, at some point.  But for now – big inhale…big exhale with a loud sigh.  Ahhhhhhhhh. 

I really need to do this more often.

P.S.  You can see more from this batch here. 

2 thoughts on “Walking the Wall

  1. Aaaaarrrgh! So not fair! I want to be there with you guys! taking that walk along the beach! I miss you guys! I miss the beach (Narraganset, right?) And by the way, not a very flattering pic of Mere, she’s a lot more attractive than that! 🙂 But what a look! (tee hee) Great shots Jayne! I love your pictures.
    Miss you guys.

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