Water Closet for September 30, 2016
[pullquote]”Here at Lands End, one of a million lands ends along Maine’s ragged 3500 miles of coast, he felt at peace despite the fickle, dangerous sea surrounding him.”[/pullquote] Long ago, during the Wisconsin continental glacier the shore of the land we now call New England was much further out and lower. Then the glacier melted and the ocean rose. The ice’s great weight off the land caused it to rise too. The sea rose faster than the continent rebounded and flooded the river valleys and low lands between ancient hills; the generally north-south ranges of high land were surrounded, strikingly so in Maine. Hill tops became islands and their ranges peninsulas jutting out into the sea deepening around them. Maine’s coast from Portland to Eastport is a dramatic example of submerged topography. Many say we can expect much more if the massive remnant of the glacier called Greenland melts. Estimates range from one to three meters of ocean rise by the end of this century.

Low tide Arcadia National Park – Donna Bambury photo

Low tide Arcadia National Park – Donna Bambury photo

The old Closeteer who often reads and wonders about land and water changes in elevation visited a Stream Team couple’s house near Cundy’s Harbor well south of Brunswick. Their house is a couple feet above and just 50-feet in at high tide from a lovely cove on a peninsula 30 miles east of Portland Harbor. If the Gulf of Maine rises just a meter on higher tides their house will be cast adrift. Low islands and ledge tops will go under. The circumferences of ocean islands will become smaller. Many beaches will be washed away including those down here in Massachusetts.
Such gloomy frets were not those of the Closeteer on his three day visit. In any direction he looked from the ever turning edges of the steep shores of Maine, blue water stretched away under a sky with cumulus clouds floating on thermoclines of cold air. A fair west breeze added to the feelings of cleanliness and well being. No wonder tourists and artists flock to the Maine coast in the warmer months. It is certainly not to swim in the bone aching water down from Labrador and Newfoundland, which in its transparency and briny smell is very inviting. At a tiny beach, a break between rocky headlands called Lands End, Baileys Island, at the end of Orr’s Island down from Harpswell, he immersed his wrist and hand in the clear water gently lapping upon the sand. The striking cold was refreshing; the washed sand very pleasing to the eye. The wonderful smell of exposed seaweeds on the rocks at half tide and that in tidal windrows on the beach cheered him up. Above the wrack line on the sand were beach roses laden with rose hips, orange balls decorating dark green foliage. The smell of the flowers these fruits came from was fondly remembered. Here at Lands End, one of a million lands ends along Maine’s ragged 3500 miles of coast, he felt at peace despite the fickle, dangerous sea surrounding him. He smelt no exhaust fumes and heard no machines. The presidential candidates’ coarse words spreading across the land and world via electronic media were not even thought of. The sea air simulated genes that originated in the ancient ocean, his long long ago ancestors’ home. He was hesitant to leave Maine’s coastal mix of spruce, fir, cedar, birch, moose maple, and oak. Descending steeply to the sea, their aromas blended with those of seaweed. Maybe so close to their element they were taking charge for a bit.

Down East coast of Maine, the beautiful ragged edge of the United States - Caulfield photo

Down East coast of Maine, the beautiful ragged edge of the United States – Caulfield photo

Alas, as with most Americans a car waited to take him back to the strange world of non-essentials he had long ago entered. He, old, had no boat or the experience to make a living by fishing, lobstering, or clamming in this lovely place. Younger native Mainers were rightfully doing that. He was just a weekend tourist sight seeing with friends who had wisely bought a quarter-acre with shack on a peaceful cove 45 years ago. The shack, no longer, has been lovingly transformed largely with recycled materials by its owners’ hands.
The Closeteer’s life had been caught up in books, piles of student papers, and not easily understood electronic media. As a young man three-score plus years ago, he left a farm where essentials were raised.   If he stayed in Maine the locals wouldn’t easily accept him as his hardworking hosts have been. However, tax collectors would readily take his money. “Keep Maine Green”, once roadside greeting signs at the border have many meanings. For decades on its shores new houses have been replacing hard scrabble farms and the small houses of fishermen. In colonial times strangers came by sea, now they drive up Route I-95. Like the rising, twice daily in and out sea, “times they are a changing”.    _______________________________________________________________________________


Precipitation Data* for Month of: June July Aug Sep
30 Year Normal (1981 – 2010) Inches 3.95 3.89 3.37 3.77
   2016 Central Watershed Actual 1.51 1.41 2.14 2.4**as of Sep 27

Ipswich R. Flow Rate (S. Middleton USGS Gage) in Cubic Feet/ Second (CFS):
For Sep 27, 2016  Normal . . . 5.9 CFS     Current Rate . . .0.49 CFS
*Danvers Water Filtration Plant, Lake Street, Middleton is the source for actual precipitation data thru Aug.
** Middleton Stream Team is the source of actual precipitation data for Sep.
Normals data is from the National Climatic Data Center.
THE WATER CLOSET is provided by the Middleton Stream Team: www.middletonstreamteam.org or         <MSTMiddletonMA@gmail.com> or (978) 777-4584