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THE FARTHERMOST VIEW

Selected Podpieces

THE HARBORMASTER'S VIEW

Down next to the town landing there’s a little cottage I’ve had my eye on for a number of years. Now and then it’s been occupied, but for the most part it’s sat empty, up on a little knoll overlooking the boat launch and the parking lot and Little Pleasant Bay. Up above the coming and going of boaters and car-parkers and view-seeking tourists, it seems like a separate little castle, behind a screen of scraggly lilacs and invasive phragmites, and above the fray. I liked to imagine sitting up there in what I knew to be the kitchen and gazing out at nothing but water and sky, pretending no one was walking through my yard wishing they lived there instead of me.

Then the very old gentleman who owned the cottage died, and for a while a sign out front proclaimed its availability to anyone who had a spare few hundred thousand bucks. I was fairly glum about the cottage’s prospects; it seemed likely to fall into the hands of a rich person who would tear it down and build something large, obtrusive, and uncottagey in its place, and no longer allow local fishermen to trek through the yard to get out to their moorings.

The cottage and I lucked out, though, when it became the property of the town. I hoped they would make the land into a nice bayside park with native plants and a bench where I could sometimes sit and gaze out at nothing but water and sky, but instead one morning a sign appeared above the garage door announcing that it was to be the Harbormaster’s Office.

Across the channel from the cottage is a marsh where last year someone erected a tall pole with a platform on top, in hopes that an osprey family would come to summer there. A plaque in the parking lot says it was put up in memory of a woman named Jodie. I think that’s a wonderful way to be remembered. No one nested there last summer, although I saw an osprey land on the crossbar once to adjust its fish. And a red-tailed hawk sits there now and then like a small feathered harbormaster, gazing out at water and sky, and being mobbed on occasion by crows. Much the way, I imagine, the human harbormaster is probably going to be mobbed at the start of striper season next summer by fishermen and tourists trying to get too many boats at a time down the ramp.




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