The only tiny problem with doing 7Days over on Flickr, in which one takes a self-portrait every day for seven days, is the commenting. It’s definitely encouraged to leave comments on many people’s photos, and I’m the type of person to comment on almost everything. I don’t always leave anything meaningful, but the photos are so creative and great that I have to say something.
Today we went on a field trip! Not a photo field trip this time. Funnily enough, we’d been watching “Intervention” one night, and the woman involved lived in Gloucester, Massachusetts. That was also the setting for one of Kurt’s favorite movies, The Perfect Storm. He wanted to head up there and check it out.
We decided to go today so that my friend Angela and her boyfriend could meet us there. We probably should have chosen another day. Today was grey and cold and rainy, and everything was closed because it’s not yet the summer season. All we could do was wander around and poke into antique shops.
I’ve grown up in several tourist-heavy areas, and we always beat the crowds by visiting the attractions in the wintertime. The one exception was the Folklike Festival in DC, since that is always held in the summertime. (The last time I went, it was about 85º with high humidity, and I was seven months pregnant with Grace. Not the best of ideas, probably, but I had on my Birkenstocks. I can do almost anything if only I’m wearing my Birks.)
I’m not good with crowds, so I would much rather go when the weather isn’t the best. But there are so few people willing to visit the attractions here in New England during the winter that everything simply shuts down after Labor Day. And Gloucester is no different. There’s a museum on the fishing industry that Kurt was interested in, but it won’t open till after Memorial Day.
I guess we’ll have to head up there again come summertime. It’s only a couple of hours away.
Driving around Massachusetts, especially places that have been around since before we were a nation, is really thought-provoking. The landscape can be so forbidding, hilly and rocky. It’s amazing that the settlers were able to wrest any kind of existence from the soil and the sea before you could head to your local Stop N’ Shop for provisions.
I got this rather unsettled feeling in Gloucester today. Maybe it was the grey, drizzly day. But maybe it was the inscription I read on the plaque at the Gloucester Fishermen’s Memorial: “The first settlers came from England in 1623 to harvest the ocean’s bounty… During the 1800s, immigrants from many lands joined in the perilous work… These intrepid men established an industry that has yielded countless millions of pounds of fish. Their legacy came at a tremendous cost: the loss of over 5300 men. Some were overtaken by the howling winds and mountainous seas of a catastrophic northeaster. Some met their fate in the solitude of a small dory gone astray from the schooner that brought them to the banks. Some ships collided in storms and tragically sank. Others were run down by steamers in shipping lanes.”
Then a list was made of the statistics relating to the lost fishermen. Of the 1000 ships lost at sea, 265 were lost with all hands. And in a period of 46 years, between 1860 and 1906, 660 ships sank, taking almost 3900 fishermen with them. The most sobering statistic of all was this: “A single storm in 1862 claimed 16 schooners and 120 men, while another devastating storm in 1879 took the lives of 159 men.”
It really brings home how dangerous being a fisherman is, and still is today, if you’ve ever seen “The Deadliest Catch.” And all just to fill the bellies of a growing nation.
Speaking of growing, I cannot believe how humongous Mary Ellen is getting. She’s laying on the couch next to me, and she takes up an entire couch cushion! I know she’s over 18 lbs and now 27″ long, but she looks even larger than that. I don’t know where my teeny baby went! She’s been gobbled up by this delectably chubby infant with dimples in her knees and rolls on her arms.
I love it.