There is an old saying in New England: if you don’t like the weather, wait a minute, it will change. Maybe it’s an old saying in other places as well, but New England takes it seriously. In Rambling Harbor, where there’s not much to get excited about, people take the weather challenge seriously.
Take yesterday, for example. It was 8 degrees, and today it is 60. The water is gray. The sky is gray. The air is gray. I know. This sounds like L.A. last winter, enshrouded no longer by smog but happy smoke. According to the National Weather Service on January 14, 2013, “Temperatures in downtown Los Angeles dropped to their coldest point in 23 years Monday morning, hitting 34 degrees, setting a record low for the date.” Poor babies. I’d be smoking happy too. In New England if it hits 34 in January, we run around naked, which is one of the reasons, thankfully, the weather gods hardly ever let it get that warm in January.
Fortunately, I do not live here for the excitement. I live here like everyone else, excluding a few deranged souls who run around in flip-flops when the temperature is so cold even the coyotes are wearing boots.
Not that I don’t suffer the elements. I do. But I live here because it is as close to an untamed place not far from a major city I can get, surrounded on three sides by water. According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 8.3 square miles of which 2.0 square miles is land and 6.3 square miles is underwater. Rambling Harbor has a land area of just 1.6 square miles, and the rest could be an Octopus’s Garden for all we know. I believe there is still a bill on the floor signed by William (Ben) Franklin that we should investigate who the hell lives down there, and there may be a good reason why the bill is still on the floor. We do not want to know, and I suspect that pleases the underwater inhabitants. As in all good seacoast scary movies, we leave well enough alone.
Here at Rambling Harbor, waves pound the sea wall and leap 20 feet or higher, flooding streets a mile from the coast at times. Sea water actually freezes, salt and all, and winds regularly soar to 40 or 50 miles an hour. This is a place where there is literally one way in and one way out, and if you're caught in, you ain’t going nowhere.
This place was settled in 1630. It has a jagged coast with unpredictable currents that have sent many a ship to rest forever in a watery grave. The last ship down was the Raw Faith. On December 8, 2010, Raw Faith began taking on water in rough seas off the coast of Nantucket and sank in 6,000 feet of water. My wife and I had planned to sail with the crew, but her health prevented us from going. We later learned two people had been rescued from the ship by a helicopter the previous day. A close call for them and for us.
Tune in to my podcast, which will deal with the mysteries of the weather as well as Black Friday.