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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Birds of a feather - and not

Sunday morning: Two osprey patrol the channel between Ash Point and Ash Island, back and forth, hovering, sailing, maneuvering with the slightest of wing adjustments. One lands on the island, pecks around on the shore, then ascends again. They are somewhat smaller than those I usually see, and their calls - almost continuous - don't quite reach the high squeaking or peeping or whatever characterizes the sounds that adults produce. This is the only evidence by which I deduce they are juveniles recently fledged from the big nest near Lucia Beach, that and the joyful aimlessness of their flying.

Several airplanes also patrol the sky, although much more deliberately, on their way elsewhere, on their way to land, in straight lines, in large arcs, faintly roaring. An odium of comparisons springs to mind, which for the sake of the beautiful morning, I try to suppress.

Walking back home, I pass a large house. A man sits on the stoop, talking on the phone, and I hear but one phrase before I'm past - "That depends - are you flying commercial?" Humble birds in home-made nests don't have a choice but to share the air with private jets in this part of Maine. Other inhabitants, of  bigger houses, have too much choice.

Sunday afternoon: As if they had divined my criticism, nearly a dozen private jets take off in the couple of hours after lunch, roaring not faintly over the deck. This is a rate of assault I've never quite experienced before. It is the Sunday after the antique cars auction at the Transportation Museum, of course, so perhaps it wasn't personal, just wealthy people returning with papers and deeds back to Houston or New York.

It is also the last Sunday in August. They are leaving Maine. I'm staying.

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