Saturday, October 13, 2012

Another Autumn


Juniper stump beside Whittaker Creek.
When the wind whistles through the masts and hums in the rigging while our dock lines creak under a fresh north wind, I know that summer has passed and the wonderful season of autumn has arrived. Down here on the coast, we get little in the way of fall colors (unlike when we lived in the mountains and could watch the progress of the season as the reds, golds and yellows descended in elevation). Mostly, the leaves and needles simply begin to vanish from the trees until it is winter and we can see there is nothing much left aloft.

Autumn is a glorious season to transition us from the oppressive heat and humidity of summer into the usually gentle southern winter with its rare (jinxed myself by saying this) cold snaps.  Remember last year's New Year's Day "Anything but Football Regatta"? It was seventy degrees and cloudless, perfect weather for a satellite shot of the "race", a term we use loosely. 

The white spots in the center are the boats in the 2012 regatta circling before the starting gun. Click to enlarge
Autumn brings cool nights for sundowners and eating in the cockpit. Morning fog resting on the river while a bright sun floats in a crystalline sky. Dolphins cruise the creek for fish, just as our friends have been searching for the newly missing sea trout. Seagulls squawk to arouse us at dawn, and some pelicans have returned. In fact, I watched a flight of two dozen white pelicans (native to Gulf states, not here) fly over a couple of days ago. A solitary anhinga (like the homely cormorant) tagged along at the end of the flight, whipping its modest wings to keep time with the long steady beat of the pelicans.

This is a season for shorts and fleece pullovers. Perfect for paddling the local blackwater creeks without risking hypothermia, the water still warm. And it is good weather for getting projects complete on board, inside and out.

Fallen juniper on Whittaker Creek.
The Annapolis Boat Show ended last weekend, and the southern migration has begun in earnest. Most of our cruiser friends are not going south this year. Things change. Stuff happens. Each day, several boats putter into the harbor. We can see them enter the channel from our slip, but kind of miss seeing them up close as they set their anchors, lower their dinghies and sputter to the dinghy dock or Town Dock for a coffee at The Bean or a beer at the Tiki Bar. We are hoping that our friends Steve and Lynn on Celebration will detour through here on their way back to El Carib, but they have sufficient open water experience to feel comfortable launching from the Chesapeake if they get a good weather window, so we will see.

Last night was a special film (not part of a series), Dark Shadows, with Johnny Depp. As always, unlimited popcorn for free. Tim Burton is, as one viewer said, "truly warped" in the most creative way. And he tapped the zeitgeist of our generation like never before with this film, from music to subtle cultural iconography. Sunday is the continuation of the detective series with The Big Sleep, another Bogart-Bacall movie.

Salt marsh off Whittaker Creek.

Carpe diem. This season is as transitory as any other.

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