just ponderin'

… on what (and when) we cannot see

Limited Visibility

Limited Visibility

A few days ago, we tumbled out of bed early to make the ferry to Monhegan Island.

Mac, Jack, Klack, Lack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack and I…

Fine.

Mac, Jack, Gabe, JoHn, and I met our friends Mike and Anna (who probably wouldn’t mind being called Ouack and Quack, if you are feeling rhyme-y and are a fan of Make Way for Ducklings) at the dock and wandered onto the boat.

Also?

It was foggy.

Oh, I’m not talking run of the mill, kind-of-misty-but-no-biggie foggy.

I’m talking about fog so thick that you imagine that, if you ran into it, you’d bounce right off.

So it was bouncy fog.

And the people who operate the Balmy Days didn’t seem concerned at all as they took our on-line reservation sheets and handed us back our little blue tickets. An important point made at that time is that you will hand over the ticket to the ticket taker as you board the boat, and then that person will tear it in half and will hand you one half. This is the bit you show to the ticket taker at Monhegan, when you want to board the boat for your trip back.

No ticket, no return.

I would be lying if I told you that I didn’t think, looking out at the fog, that I had better keep my return ticket half somewhere very safe because being stuck out on a one mile square island, 12 miles off the coast, surrounded by bouncy fog was a Stephen King novel in the making.

And Stephen King is from Maine… so it could happen.

Even though it was all socked in, and we really couldn’t see the sun, it wasn’t very cold. So we made our way to the front of the boat – outside – for our hour-plus journey over to the island. At points, it was as if we were an ice breaker, making our way through solid walls. Less cracking and crashing, sure, but I am telling you that there was just as much suspense as we were caught in an infinite ‘oh my Gawd we are totally going to hit something’ frame of mind all the way to the island.

No seriously.

Sure, we could have hit the fog and bounced off. But the fog stayed just about 50 feet in front of us the whole time (apparently fog is an amazing judge of boat speeds). But there really were things out there that we couldn’t see!

So. Fog horn.

Now, I have heard fog horns being sounded on foggy mornings and evenings – from the comfort of my living room. And, sure, they are loud.

But when you are sitting right underneath one on a rather large boat…

I’m sorry, what did you say?

Ah.

Yes.

THEY ARE VERY LOUD!

Hence, I cannot hear you very well so don’t talk to me anymore because I’m trying to tell a story here.

So we were boating…

And things keep coming out of the fog.

For instance, small birds.

Like this juvenile gannet (they are brownish when they are young).

Hello young sir or madame

I looked him up to identify him, because I fail often when it comes to which bird is which, and guess what?! Gannets are known for diving from above and swimming underwater!

Right? Respect.

The cool thing about the photo is that the Gannet had just landed, really really close to the boat, and I could see nothing – literally nothing – very far beyond him. That blurry background isn’t because I am such a great and professional photographer (which, of course I am). It’s fog!

The fog horn would sound every two minutes, which JoHn and Gabe calculated to mean 47 times during our trip – and were very helpful counting us down with each blast.

They are lucky Mike and Anna… oh, sorry… Ouack and Quack didn’t murder them. Which would have been bad, and also Stephen King-y. But I digress.

Thank Gawd for the fog horn because we’d be hanging out, searching for fog dolphins (which would have had to surface within two feet of the boat so it was a bit futile), and then things like this would happen:

Things to Avoid in Fog

And that happened a lot (and by ‘a lot’, I mean more than once – which was enough).

Finally and suddenly, we were pulling up to the Monhegan dock. Which did not look as inviting as it had during my past visits. I’m just sayin’.

Sudden Dockage, 12 Miles Out

And the day on the island actually ended up being incredible. Truly incredible.

Dinghy in the Clear.

The lack of views actually enhanced each and every pic. We hadn’t planned to hike, me having rolled my ankle before the wedding, but suddenly that was exactly what we were doing.

Worth it.

The artist, Jamie Wyeth’s house (purchased from Rockwell Kent) in the distance.

Swirly, Whirly Way Down Below

Out to Sea

And it occurred to me, as we boarded the boat back to the mainland – thus avoiding my debut as a character in the aforementioned Stephen King novel – that the past eight weeks have indeed been a bit of a fog.

A lovely, incredible, life-changing-in-such-magical-ways fog.

As with many fogs – especially bouncy ones – when I was in the midst of it all, it sometimes seemed a bit too thick, too difficult to navigate. Even scary.

But then… things got clearer.

The move is done. We are settling into life in Maine.

The wedding happened. And my daughter has taken another step into her life, heart-to-heart and hand-in-hand with a man we’ve loved so much we’ve called him a ‘half kid’ (and who is now Son-In-Law Half-Kid Jack (no, he did not get promoted! What would he strive for if I did that?!))

And now I can reflect on the beauty that was. Maybe those memories, too, will be enhanced by the foggy craziness surrounding the happenings at the time.

This reminds me, once again, to makes sure to seek out and appreciate the beauty right in front of me, even when I can see nothing else beyond.

Maybe especially when I can see nothing else beyond.

Black-Headed Gull above cool waters I could not see, and a warm sun I could not feel

Thanks for readin’.

As always, come on over to Just Ponderin’s Facebook page to comment.

Oh, p.s.! Remember that gannet – that little bird I photographed (above)? Well guess what! I found a Smithsonian Channel video on YouTube that shows them diving and swimming! here is the link:

 

I know! I need to get to know these guys a little better!

 

 

 

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Elena Peters

midlife blogger & pinterest master

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