Monday, September 28, 2009

but where are the gulls?

What a weekend! What a study in contrasts! Saturday was one of those clear blue days that people move to New England for. Sunday it was one of those days when it rains sideways and you shiver in your wet sweatshirt wondering why you came.

We timed our arrival on Saturday to see Sharks Come Cruisin' at 1:00. They commented on
how lucky they were to have such great weather this year after playing the rain last year.
They even mentioned last year's rain in a song. They rocked! Then it was over to the dining tent for some lunch.

sharks come cruisin
Sharks Come Cruisin'

We got back to the main tent in time to catch some of "Something Fishy", which was Jon Campbell, Dave Densmore, Jim McGrath, and Bob Quinn all on the same stage. We were so taken with Bob Quinn, whom we'd never heard before, that we caught his next recitation at the narrative tent. He's an excellent storyteller and has that cool Maine accent. He reads his Uncle Bonney's poems and tells his own stories of life on Eagle Island. When he was about to read a poem about gulls, he commented on the lack of gulls around today (Saturday).

bob quinn
Bob Quinn

The theme of the festival this year is farming and fishing so they had a surf and turf poetry pairing of David Densmore, fisherpoet, and Joel Nelson, cowboy poet. Both poets left me wanting more.

Dave Densmore and Joel Nelson (Joel is the one in the Texas hat)

Sunday was a whole 'nother thing. I ended up, after much discussion and indecision, going alone. I really wanted to hear more of Joel Nelson, which I did, and Sunday was also my only chance to hear the Ana Vinagre Ensemble. I need my dose of fado. What can I say? Ana Vinagre was well worth the trek across the pedestrian bridge while trying to keep my umbrella from flying onto the highway. Ana Vinagre commented on the scarcity of gulls today (Sunday). Actually, she said gaviota -- I guess the Portuguese word for gull is the same as the Spanish word.

The "Of Land and Sea" session again combined "surf and turf" with Joel Nelson, Bob Quinn, Good Old Plough, and Dave Densmore along with The Johnson Girls. One highlight for me was when Dave Densmore read a poem about being stuck in boat with engine trouble with his teacher, who managed to lose the oars, while his Dad tried to get the outboard working. Bob Quinn played off that with a story about trying to get an engine started and accidentally blowing it up. Another highlight was a luminous Joel Nelson poem about finding an arrowhead. So I met my goal of getting my dose of fado and hearing more of Joel Nelson.

Ana Vinagre and Jon Campbell, Two Icons of the Southeastern Mass./Rhode Island Scene

So where were the gulls? They were scarce on both Saturday and Sunday as both Bob Quinn and Ana Vinagre commented. I guess the wind must have driven them inland. Maybe it should have driven me inland (just kidding). I think I saw two herring gulls and one great black back the entire weekend. Normally, the New Bedford waterfront is dominated by gulls. They are everywhere. When you look down from the parking garage onto the roofs of buildings you see lots and lots of shell fragments dropped there in the process of gulls cracking open quahogs, mussels, and whatever all else shellfish they scrounge up. The roofs of New Bedford look like it snowed shell fragments. It snows shells and rains gull feathers.

Feathers and Shell Fragments

On the way back to the garage I tried to take a few pictures of New Bedford in the rain while trying not to lose my umbrella. There were gull feathers and shell fragments in every gutter and gully.

More Feathers

Rainy New Bedford

My Umbrella Landed Next to a Happy Face


Anonymous said...

That "Texas hat" is a Stetson.

janet said...

Thanks Anonymous. We don't see too many Stetsons up here.