January 31, 2011

Even the seaway was closed

When the seaway is closed

On Saturday, my extended family descended on a north country town to eat lunch at café and then to visit an old mansion that’s been turned into an art museum. The art show that had just opened included a painting that my father had entered: fittingly, a scene of our dock in winter. The accommodating staff had given us permission to use the room off their kitchen so that we could have birthday cake. So we wandered around the building, looking at paintings and sculptures, and then gathered to sing happy birthday to my father.

Tie-dye Brother-in-law had volunteered to buy the desserts, and he brought more than just birthday cake. So we were all happily full, ready for a walk in the cold air, by the time we left the art museum to walk on the pier.

“There’s got to be 60 degree temperature difference since the last time we were here,” said Urban Sophisticate Sister, as we tramped through the snow to get to the pier. The last time we’d all gathered on the pier was on a sweltering hot day last July. In fact, it had been so hot that most of us had stripped down and jumped into the cold water. Urban Sophisticate coaxed the kids into recreating the photo she’d taken of them diving off the pier: Boy in Black even did a handstand on the ice, pretending he was in mid-dive.

An unexpected sight were the row of channel markers: huge buoys, red and green, that we normally see when we’re out sailing, marking the seaway so that vessels can navigate the channel. At the end of December, which is when the seaway closes, a tugboat pulls them out of the water and lines them up on the pier, where they stay until March. I’d never seen them out of the water before; it was fun to be able to walk right up and inspect them up close.

Channel markers in winter

That's my father and brother, looking at the buoys, with other family members down on the ice in the distance.


Cindy said...

Are they made of concrete? how do they float?

Magpie said...

Wow. I've never seen buoys out of the water like that. Cool.

Sarah said...

One of my earliest memories is listening to the warning buoys all night in bad weather, sound coming out of nowhere when the fog lay heavy on the ocean (we lived just above high tide line). Never have seen one before out of the water.

BTW, ordered "Among Others" from my local Borders bookstore. I'm going to share it around as a way of encouraging my book club to buy and read and discuss it soon.

jodi said...

Neat to see how large they really are.