End of summer musings


We got down to our wee place in Middlebridge, in South Kingstown, a bit late this season, but I am making the most of these weeks before Labor Day.

I seek out my neighborhood cohorts of summers past. We meet over coffee in the mall.

But so far the happiest happening has been the visit of my son, who sent me to David Goldin’s pool overlooking the beauty of Narragansett Bay, with its view of sailboats and, in the evenings, gulls taking advantage of the schools of fish under the moonlight.

I muse on the meanings of these scenes. No, nature is not exactly peaceful or serene. Everything, to succeed, must seek its prey, defend its territory, escape from its foes. Only in Disney distractions is the wilderness a friendly society of wildlife.

In fact, to succeed, each species actually must have its “enemies,” to keep its population in balance with its food sources.

My son, Reuben, joins me in this interest. He is fascinated by the raccoon that dwells in his trash can, where it vies with a squirrel that also has claims on this source of nourishment.

Here in Middlebridge, we have herds of deer – elegant, charming creatures that visit little yards, usually at twilight, when their quiet elegance elevates the end of a day seeking a cove, a beach, a pool, to refresh a driver of automobiles on those cruel and crude highways we seem to require.

I like to thank the handymen (handypersons) who can fix things, deliver, advise, in the spirit of Labor Day – and I like to rediscover the wealth of the wilderness even as it is threatened by destructive and demanding developers.

MIKE FINK (mfink33@aol.com) is a professor emeritus at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Mike Fink, Sketchbook