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Posted by on Mar 9, 2009 in US | 1 comment

Spring Fever by Newport’s Waters

Everyone on the island loves warmer days and boating's promise.

Newport's Cliff Walk after the snow; 21 degrees but in the lee

Newport, Rhode Island: On the Cliff Walk after the snow; 21 degrees but in the lee

For a couple of mornings, we trudged through the recent snows along the Cliff Walk, Newport’s spectacular stroll between Bellevue mansion and Atlantic Ocean; then came last weekend, and spring fever hit. Temperatures soared, and our constitutional moved to Sachuest (aka Second) beach, an equally brilliant seascape. Every dog on Aquidneck Island made an appearance. We even had our first short-pants sighting of the year.

Sachuest Beach, Middletown, R.I., 50-plus degrees F

Sachuest Beach, Middletown, R.I., 50-plus F

The snow melted rapidly, and I pulled the boom tent and miscellaneous boat parts out of hiding and stacked them up in the enclosed breezeway of our old farm house. Today, I was surely going to spread it out on the lawn for airing and a careful inspection.

But last night, this furry fellow appeared with a good case of his own spring fever.  Raccoons have amazing hands, and big ones must be strong, too. This one ripped apart the rotting frame of the top third of this window, climbed in, and helped himself to the cat food. (Full disclosure: he knew the food was there and has visited us before through slightly more open apertures…but, you know, our house doesn’t really need help deterioriating and I don’t have much of a sense of humor about it when there are boats to mess around with.) Anyway, I took this photo of him at 0-Dark-30 this morning through the window on the other side of the breezeway before he eventually got bored and left the premises.

He was after my sailing equipment...or maybe the cat food.

He was after my sailing equipment...or maybe the cat food.

The canvas boom tent, the bucket of gear, the sailing gloves and other gear are still there because I spent my lunch hour boarding up the window. Then it started snowing again. Spring in New England is such a tease. Hopefully, the neighborhood raccoon will find an easier target tonight, but just in case, you can be sure I’m not leaving the crowbar anywhere that he can find it.

—John Burnham

1 Comment

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