Saturday, December 20, 2014  
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Arnold Dyre
 
Commentary by Arnold Dyre

   Suddenly, it was Saturday and I had only one day and a wakeup left to enjoy Bailey Island.
   The “one day and a wakeup” expression goes back to my Navy days when short-timers on board ship counted down days until departing the ship for transfer or discharge.
   Beverly and I were in Maine for the annual reunion of the shipmates of the destroyer USS Ernest G. Small, but we had been spending most of our time on our beloved Bailey Island. We drove over to  Bath, Maine, on Friday and guided some of my shipmates and their wives back to Bailey Island for an afternoon visit and a lobster supper, and I was to attend the ship’s reunion banquet on Saturday night and participate in the memorial service for our fallen comrades. But early on Saturday, I was intent on soaking up as much as was left of our precious experience on Bailey Island.
   On Saturday morning, Little Harbor’s serenity was overwhelming! Following a cold and windy night with real temperatures dropping below freezing and the wind chill much lower, I had slept late and lingered in the inside warmth of the Johnson Homestead until past nine o’clock. It was still cold when I got to Little Harbor that morning but, with the little cove well-sheltered from the wind and the sun shining, it was not long before I was stripping off layers of clothes as I sat at my spot on the beach at near high tide.
   Scarce ripples just barely disturbed the little inlet’s waters and, with my friend the sun shining so brightly, I could see fish beneath the surface. The infrequent sudden movements of the fish caused more ripples upon the still waters than did the gentle breeze.
   The turkeys came to visit – five of them, a mature hen with four younger ones, likely from this year’s brood. I did not call to them because they clearly could see me, and I doubted seriously that they would have been impressed with my feeble imitations of their talk.
   Then, there appeared out beyond the big rock (that looks like a little rock at high tide) a dull orange working lobster boat with a lone man occupant. Dressed in some sort of rubberized bib-overhauls the same orange color as his boat and wearing a black sweater and watch cap like we used to wear in the Navy, the man worked quickly, hauling in lobster traps with strong, well weathered hands while his boat quietly idled.
   Soon, he finished where I first saw him and moved out farther and continued his work. The traps he is pulling are all marked with faded orange buoys. From time to time, I see the man throwing some of the catch back in. I think only the males are harvested, and there likely could be also some kind of size limitation.
   I tire of watching the lobsterman and turn my attention back to the turkeys. They immediately appear offended and quickly disappear single-file back into the woods. I am again alone at Little Harbor’s beach with just the water and the fishes.
   Some of the boulders lining the shores of this little inlet appear to have heavy veins of gold within them. Likely, fools’ gold, but I prefer to think that it is gold – a fortune waiting for me to come back to chisel out of the rocks should I ever need it badly enough. Silly, I know, but that is what I prefer to imagine.
   In the distance out of my sight around a bend in the configuration of the inlet, the boat cranks up to full throttle and leaves the area, perhaps headed to another spot marked with more orange buoys or perhaps headed home. As the boat’s noise fades away, I seem truly to be alone again. It is good. The fortune in gold shines in the sun all around me!
   The tide has turned. Slowly the sea is withdrawing. The little rock out a ways is becoming a larger rock. A strip of wet sand, wet pebbles and wet rocks accent the little beach. I arise from my boulder and stroll along the water’s edge trying to decide which of the thousands upon thousands of interesting rocks I will take home with me. Beverly once took home a whole suitcase full of beach stones picked up from the shores of the San Juan Islands on this country’s west coast situated across our land almost in the same corresponding spot as this place on the east coast.
   The stones look very similar. I finally settle on a pure white smooth little stone about the size of a jellybean, a pale yellow, egg-shaped rock about the size of a bantam egg, and an unusual little red rock. I left all the rest, but I may come back and get a few more if I ever come back for the gold.


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