Our national news is following the oil that’s spreading out along the Gulf of Mexico and is beginning to impact the mainland coast. Incidents such as this remind me of the Argo Merchant oil spill. We suffered little compared to what is about to take place along Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and possibly as far east as the Florida panhandle.
The Argo Merchant spilled a fraction of what is happening now in the Gulf. Some of you may remember the sight of seabirds covered with oil and tar. Many were beyond recovery. I first saw what appeared to be a small seal (at the time an unusual sight) sliding off the beach and into the water out by Great Point. A moment later, when it surfaced, a friend and I realized it was an oil-soaked gannet.
We tried to catch it for nearly an hour and finally had to leave it to a certain death. I cannot begin to imagine the size and scope of what this petroleum-based disaster will do to a system of fragile saltmarshes. Safety measures might have prevented this. Let’s hope the oil tankers plying our waters are up to snuff. I never want to see another tar-covered bird on one of our beaches.
I’ve enjoyed watching the “mining” operation when visiting the dump (aka sanitary landfill) lately. There are several pieces of heavy construction equipment perched up on Mount Trashmore, digging up our old garbage. Observing the process from a distance, the workmen look like ants alongside the dump trucks.
The entire scene reminds me of pictures taken in Italian marble quarries. There are a couple of differences, though they’re about scale and form. Quarries are indentations in the earth and here it’s a pimple out at the west end. Our version is small and becoming more so, due to the work on the hill.
These days, talking to people often involves comments about how beautiful our spring weather has been. The fact that the word spring is involved is, of itself, unusual. Spring on Nantucket is normally non-existent, until mid-May, if at all. We’re fortunate to have had a month of relatively warm, dry days. The wind never sleeps and we could easily encounter cloudbursts in the future. Whatever happens in May, the island, and its residents, are ahead of the game.
Daffodils are beginning to slump and dry up, as their run is close to an end. Now, later-blooming plants and trees are making a move. Gardeners are out in force. One thing making me happy is how well most of my herbs survived the past winter. Sage, oregano, thyme and chives are flourishing in my garden. Tarragon bit the proverbial dust. Luckily, the deer have no interest in the remaining plants, as the netting fell down months ago.
When I heard of the passing of Gilles Bridier, it made me sad. Even though Gilles had been ailing for over two years, he was around and vibrant. I first got to know him, in the early 1970s, when a group of us used to play soccer out by Ralph Marble’s track. Gilles was (by far) the most talented player on the pitch. So good, that he often played while smoking a Gauloises, yet never making a wrong move. He was funny, smart and a truly sweet man.
The Bruins are now into the second round of the NHL playoffs and are looking good. The Celtics are in the NBA playoffs and looking so-so, and the Red Sox . . . well they look great some days and horrible others.
– Goodman’s Gam appears weekly in this space and regularly in The Inquirer and Mirror.