January 2017


Beth Lapin

bluff-point-beachAs I drove into Bluff Point State Park to meet my hiking group, I was surprised to see that the lot was full. Last week when we came here, there were a handful of cars, while today maybe fifty. As I unpacked my bag, I noticed that people were carrying various equipment, rakes, and buckets. They appeared to be checking in with a man in a truck over near the trail head, so I walked over to see what this was all about.

bluff-point-shellfish-warden
It turns out that it’s shellfishing season in southeastern Connecticut, and the Town of Groton’s warden was checking people’s equipment and catch. The weathered man gave me a copy of shellfishing regulations; we are in the Poquonnock River area, with an all-year open season.

One of the participants was returning from his morning and I asked him a few questions. He showed me his rake, with knife-like…

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Beth Lapin

20 January 2017

The day promised to be sunny and in the high forties when Cherry and I head to Windsor for our hike to Friendly’s. It doesn’t get that warm, or sunny, but we arrive ready to go at Northwest Park and Nature Center, owned by the city.

We decide to take trails to the north in order to end up at Rainbow Reservoir. Cherry excitedly tells me she’s heard from a local researcher that he and a colleague might be interested in making a documentary about her uncle. Her father’s brother, John, was likely the last chaplain on Ellis Island and had led an interesting and colorful life. Cherry, still working through probate of John’s estate, has his notes and many relevant documents that could be useful. I’m familiar with the work of the two colleagues she’s mentioned and they would do justice to her uncle’s life.

We…

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Beth Lapin

jan-calendar-2017

January 17, 2017

I recently learned that the third Monday in January is touted as the most depressing day in the Northern Hemisphere. I guess that could serve as a warning for those of us prone to such emotions. On the other hand, would that cause its development via the placebo effect—thinking about the possibility might cause it to happen?

This year (and maybe most years?), Blue Monday, as it is whimsically named, falls on the celebration of Martin Luther King’s birthday. I could see where the pressing need of protecting all the human rights gained since the 1960s might cause some angst. But is there more to it? Is there something intrinsic about mid-January that gets to us?

When I did some research, I discovered that the term and the phenomenon were, in fact, a public relations firm’s concoction. Based on some fancy-looking but illogical mathematical formula that includes…

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Beth Lapin

zickefoose-book-cover

A long-time friend recently gave me a copy of Julie Zickefoose’s book, Baby Birds. Her treatise is a multi-year project involving drawing and discoursing on baby birds from hatching to fledging. Julie, a former Connecticut resident, conveys the miracle of life, the importance of each and every being, and how one person can make a difference, in these seventeen life history chapters. Her drawings are exquisite and her commentary is as direct and unpretentious as she

I’ve allow myself only one chapter each night, and I am drawn into my own memories when I reach the one covering Tree Swallows. The murmuration at the mouth of the Connecticut River is described by Julie as “a little-known autumnal ritual of roosting swallow flocks [which] remains among the most impressive ornithological spectacles I’ve ever witnessed.” Since her time, this phenomenon has become “discovered” but it doesn’t make it any less magical…

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