Thursday, August 11, 2011

Day 36: Marsh casserole, with a side of bad juju

Bad juju would have been understandable on day 13, but day 36? I'm only marginally superstitious. But I tend to believe that rotten luck comes in threes. And today, it did indeed.

Last week, Russ graciously offered me the use of his jumbo double-wheeled wheelbarrow. Being alone today, I was going to get a lot done with that bad boy. But the tires needed air. A few seconds after I plugged in, something started crackling inside. Before I could hit the release valve, an ominous bubble blistered up and without further ado went off like a howitzer. Russ, I owe you a tire.

I usually wear Tony's size 12 rubber boots, a bit big for me. Today I saw a pair of size 11's flopped over in the corner. They were ancient, covered in dust, and had a strange aroma, but they fit like Cinderella's pumps. Into the marsh I went. Two seconds later that unmistakable sensation of moistness where there should be dryness took hold. I leapt out of the water but it was too late, the tops of my socks were soaked. Upon closer inspection, I found the boots lacerated with more creases than Charles Bronson. 

No problem, I thought. The cam trap will cheer me up. I'd been looking forward to checking it all week. The shorebirds are migrating, the raptors are chasing them, whatever. I really thought I'd catch something special. What did I get? One hundred pictures of starlings. 

They weren't even doing anything interesting, just loitering, by the dozen, playing havoc with the motion sensor. Here's the tally: starling (too many to count), osprey 1, female red-winged blackbird 1, mockingbird 1, great blue heron 1 (on marsh). My worst haul yet.

Anyway, the three pieces of juju were over, and they weren't debilitating. While cleaning up, I noticed  evidence of luck -both good and bad - scattered throughout the marsh. Like a melting jellyfish. The lives of jellyfish are about as dictated by luck as anything you'll find in nature. They drift helplessly through the ocean, their course plotted by the currents, their fate determined by the tides. Last night, a sandy death was simply in the cards for this individual.

An empty egg case. The little skate that emerged from it was no larger than a nickel. With any luck, it will one day stretch five feet across.

Even trash can be traced to past luck.

And then there's this marsh, the luckiest marsh in New York City.

High of 82, max humidity 73%, average wind W @ 4 MPH, .3 low tide @ 12:42 PM. Moon 91% visible.
Water level recorded at 8 inch mark.
Birds seen in marsh: common tern, unidentified peep, yellowlegs, goldfinch, mockingbird, green heron
Birds seen in bay: semipalmated plover, oystercatcher, common tern, laughing gull


  1. Shervin,

    I keep trying to comment but it will not post for me, for some reason. I visited the marsh a couple of weeks ago and it is looking so much better. I've had those days where everything happens in threes, looks like you made it through. So how can one come out and help at the marsh?

  2. Hi Cindy, we're having a big cleanup day on September 17th. Would love to see you there.