Lapland and springtime nods

Fri, 04/01/2022 - 4:45am

My wife got it in her sights to see Lapland in late February; as she roamed the Arctic Circle she spied: reindeer, the northern lights, the IceHotel. (Yup, people sleep on a bed of ice in a hotel made of ice - I guess there is a market for everything. They sleep on furs and in a sleeping bag. Ahem, go figure.)
She rode a dog sled, fed the huskies, snow-shoed, she cooked sausages and marshmallows while drinking hot lingonberry juice while waiting to see said northern lights, she helped herd the reindeer into their corral, fed the reindeer, and generally wandered around Santa’s Village being a tourist as she is wont to do when she hits the road.
She had lots of tourist things to do and see and she saw and did them all. She called me from the land of snow at Santa’s Village and reported
that the snow was pristine because it’s not treated with any chemicals. As she spoke to me about the enchanted nature of Lapland and the purity of its snow, we were having our own little snow event going on in Galilee. Just as Cindy spoke of “pure white snow,” a plow blasted by the car shack and dumped a tsunami of slush on the sidewalk and on the shack as well. Lapland and Slushland as it were. My wife had a blast on this trip and when she got home spring was in the offing and there were hints of spring in the air.
Note my nods to the spring of 2022:
It is 20 March 2022—the first day of spring—that I’m writing this column in Aquinnah on the tip of the island of Martha’s Vineyard. I come out here every March near the time of my birthday to see some friends and look at things; houses, boats, and eroded beaches. Rather than drive around the island aimlessly with no agenda as I normally do on these little trips, this year I shifted gears and took my new Lectric 2.0 E-Bike to see what I wouldn’t normally see while driving in my car. For example, as soon as I got to the island I was able to pedal a good 12 miles around Katama Bay where the temperatures were very mild and the traffic was minimal. (However, this will change shortly as it will on Block Island and these island populations will go big.) It was an easy 12 miles because of the temperatures but my 72-year-old body got worked - as it should - as my knees, back and other body parts are feeling their care-worn age. Use it or lose it, kids. Tomorrow, I will go scooting around Chappaquiddick, aka Chappy, after I finish retooling my column. This is my normal drill; however, from my E-Bike I will have a completely different perspective of what I normally see out there. I love this E-Bike for this reason. It’s kind of like stopping to smell the roses or at least slowing down a touch to take a whiff of them.
-A benchmark of springtime at the ferry docks is when crews and freight guys start wearing shorts in mid-February. I know, this is very manly stuff - Dude stuff. Usually, Captains Jim Chase, Paul Svenevik, Colin Waitkun and assorted crew members lead the charge into the balmy spring weather. Last week on 3/18, I showed up for work at 0730 and busted out a pair of wrinkled shorts that were buried in my Jeep all winter. Freight boss Tim
McCandlish also wore shorts on this unseasonably warm day in March. As I roamed the Vineyard on my E-Bike it looks like we’ve actually turned the winter corner. Well maybe, as for all we know we could end up with a blizzard in April as it’s been known to happen. Moreover, on that warm day of wearing shorts I even put my Red Wing winter work boots in my freight locker. This is a very assertive and hopeful nod toward this upcoming seasonal change.
-I have had glancing thoughts of powering up my sailboat Reverie for a summer of blasting around Narragansett Bay and doing my aimless sailing drill. My boat looks beat up these days after a long winter in her slip, but ironically I love sailing this rig more now than I ever did; simply because I am able to still single-hand her with minimal wear and tear on my on my back and arthritic joints. To windward we all must go as we near that good night into which we shall not go gently. I love that poetic observation from the late writer Dylan Thomas.

-With the springtime come allergies and brutal frontal-lobe congestion. Hey, I love a good sneeze like anyone else, but the scream sneezes that come out of my head these days actually scare me. We’re talking horror movie sounds from this congested head and nasal cavity. Jaysus help me if it gets any worse than this in mixed company; I’ll be afraid to leave the house. Even Mr. Cricket is sneezing up a veritable storm these days in addition to his other harrumphing doggie sounds. This Mr. Cricket character is the most talkative dog we’ve ever had. And, he’s very demanding and gives the bride and I no quarter. Just sayin’. He is relentless in pursuit of his daily agenda.

-Things are ramping up at the ferry dock as folks are coming out to open up their houses. It’s a matter of time before we see truckloads of mulch showing up at the dock. Boulders and assorted vegetation will also be making an appearance along with truckloads of lumber. These are standard-issue signs of spring. Another standard-issue seasonal sign will be when more people begin appearing in the Port of Galilee as the weather warms up and the M/V Carol Jean comes on the run. The most obvious sign of spring will be when the Standby Lot is open for the summer. By the time
I get back from the Vineyard that reality will probably be in play.
-It appears that the ospreys are back in town a bit early this year; I don’t know where to go with this. Perhaps it’s the mild weather; they seem to be at least a week early this year. The bride is tossing grass seed on the ground, and I saw a crocus popping skyward before I left for this annual trip. These are surely tell-tale signs of spring. Finally, I’m wrapping up this column, and firing up my E-Bike to go tearing around the roughhewn roads of Chappaquiddick Island while enjoying this fine spring-like weather and seeing stuff that I wouldn’t ordinarily see.