Tuesday, August 30, 2011

After Irene


Simply by being there several times a week I become a shoreline expert -- sort of. I seethe changes. I was eager to see what Irene's winds did to "my" beach. We had almost no rain here but a day of continuous wind, which didn't seem to me to be especially violent. Yesterday I did not take my camera but today I did. I was there before 9:00 when almost no one else was around. The above picture is the shore, swept clean of nearly all loose sand. Most of it seems to have landed on the other side of the spit. It buried some of the dune grass closest to the shore. Today I notice that the tide has dub 3 or 4 inch deep trenches halfway up the beach. At that hour tbe tide was about as far out as it was going to get. So the beach was at its widest.
The top photo was taken from near where the public access is. The distant view is toward the end of the mile-long spit of land - with a fresh water inlet on the other side. It's only 50 to 100 feet wide until 3/4s of the way out where the seashore curves and the back side widens into a small marsh with several little kettle ponds. At the very end is a rocky area that is under the tide about half the time.
Out where the marshy part is the sand was deposited in the grass, very deeply in some places. Here are two pictures of new dunes covering the grass. Also the shore of the inlet side is much narrower suggesting some of this sand is from there also.
The rocky area is a sort of fat period at the end of a bent exclamation mark. Last year it was bordered with gnarled little trees, all living and apparently healthy. Over the winter most of those trees disappeared. Apparently the sand beneath their roots was eaten away and then they were carried away by the tide. Only one, the largest, of those gnarled trees was left this spring. But its roots were exposed and it did not sprout leaves. People used it to hang broken sea shells on which became plentiful as much as a month ago. Now this tree has been much broken -- the remnants of a bonfire on the very end of the spit shows lots of twisted limbs from this tree that apparently didn't burn well. Since Irene it's roots are almost all exposed and it's this sad wraith of what it was a year ago.
A short distance before the dead tree is this larger, still healthy one. Until Irene it was back from the shore a couple of feet, one had to climb a low bank to get to it to hang broken seashells on it's lower branches which were without leaves although the upper ones had and still have leaves. Obviously it is the next one that will be deprived of its footing and may follow the fate of it's neighbor by next spring.

A woman I often chat with on the beach -- she comes possibly more regularly than I -- said she thought the "period" part of the spit might become an island. That makes sense to me. It will be interesting to see. As can be seen in these pictures, this is a lovely and usually peaceful place for an early morning walk. It was a very beautiful morning beneath that sky where the temperature was about 70.

2 comments:

FOLKWAYS NOTEBOOK said...

June -- and the sky is amazingly blue! What a spiritual place to walk in the early morning discovering the behavior of Mother Earth -- barbara

rraine said...

these are wonderful shots, especially the first one. another reminder that nothing, but nothing, stays the same forever. or even for very long.