Shortly after the WHO officially declared COVID-19 a global pandemic – on March 11, 2020, more than three months ago already, can you believe it? – I started reading/watching a number of pieces about establishing new routines and patterns around spending most of our working and non-working time at home. One piece in particular struck me: an NPR article with “tips” for living in isolation from a man who has lived alone for 50 years in Gothic, Colorado, an abandoned silver mining mountain town. One of those tips was to notice and record what goes on around you, giving you the potential to observe and track related patterns, above and beyond “just” filling part of your day with “to-dos.”
With our routines and plans pulled out from under us, like everyone else, it seemed to be an opportune time for me to progress from merely “recording” my day’s activities, to giving additional thought to the things happening around me, near or far; to consider their implications and import; and to contemplate if they are short-term reactions or if they’ll become a part of the fabric of our daily lives going forward.
With all that in mind, I started to incorporate this “Notice and Record” element into my personal daily journal. Now, I’m bringing it into this year’s Seguin blog, specifically to share my observations about what hasn’t and has changed on Seguin from summer 2019 to summer 2020.
We left Popham Beach for Seguin Thursday, June 18, the day after FOSILS’ solar installation had been completed. We saw seals bobbing alongside our watery path, flocks of mostly gulls soaring around Pond Island, not far above this summer’s researchers’ tent abodes and, upon our arrival, moored boats in the cove. Shortly thereafter, we greeted our first visitors, from last summer no less: a couple with a deaf, leashed cat named, “Seguin.” Save for “solar school” with some FOSILS board members & Cyndy; quiet solar vs noisy generator-provided electricity – hurrah!; that it was a warm and sunny T-shirt day in mid-June; that the garden was already growing dill; that new leaves of kale were sprouting from stems the size of my forearms, planted as seedlings last June; and that Chris and I were back on Seguin under a waived no-repeat-keeper policy, greeting visitors we’d met last summer, nothing has changed.
We enjoyed another two days of warm and sunny weather, greeting more than 40 visitors on the first and second days of summer who arrived under motor, paddle or sail power. Several were mutually remembered from last year, including one from Hermit Island Chris and I’d just wondered about out loud to one another barely an hour before he appeared in front of the keeper’s quarters. The cove was full all day, as captains of varying crafts jockeyed for optimal position to snag a mooring as soon as they became available. One visitor dropped anchor, which I mention as a reminder-request for future visitors not to do so, in keeping with FOSILS policy and the large, longtime sign posted in the cove: “Do Not Anchor In Cove.” Seedlings and seeds were planted, including a “fresh” crop of kale. Another discovered bounty of Neptune’s sea glass plus a small pottery shard, too small for my untrained eye to determine its provenance. A brilliant hot pink and orange sunset, beribboned with mulberry-colored clouds was seemingly observed by twin thunderheads, two hands-widths to the north, their steel blue-gray silhouettes rising above the horizon. Excluding daily monitoring of solar stats, the warm June temps, and being able to enjoy the garden’s unexpected bounty, including chives, upon our June arrival versus waiting until mid-August like last summer, nothing has changed.
Sunday’s early morning sun quickly gave way to fog by 6am as the wind shifted from the SW to the NE, and Seguin was rapidly enveloped in fog…for the next two days, penetrated only by the not-so-dulcet tones of the foghorn sounding warning blasts. This was the weather we’d expected upon our arrival, though happily not as cold as last June, nor a deterrent to a handful of visitors who shrugged through the rolling mist. The ground is visibly drier two months earlier than last summer, and so we appreciated nature’s moisture-laden fog as a welcomed source of water for the garden coupled with the water we’re saving and recycling from in-door use. Other than the shift in weather and wind, and our retention of household water for the garden, nothing has changed.