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Travelogue F19

August 13, 2015

The way back passes through the point’s copious birch stands. As often happens at a touch of their papery white bark, I gave myself over to my imagination, this time for a third variation on the madman suite. For, so it occurred to me, the trees were dense enough in places that a person might lose her way and spend her last days or water, whichever came first, recording her story on their smooth trunks. In time, her story would taken on dimensions even stranger than those provided by the conditions of their telling

Somewhere near the trail end, we paused to survey the Beehive. Seen from afar, it brought to mind a Mount Athos in miniature, as I had imagined following the discussion in Barthes’ Comment vivre ensemble. This thought yielded in turn to another, whether there might not be a strange monastic order in semi-permanent residence at the peak. The name would then prove a reference to some element of their practices, such as, rather mundanely, their economic role as beekeepers or, more fantastically, their hollowing out the promontory into hexagonal cells where a strict repartition of social roles and barred clothing had raised one anonymous monk to the rank of monarch at the expense of the others. This would have been in keeping with the heterodoxical groups to which Barthes occasionally made reference, namely, Grazers who subsisted on a diet of grass or weeds pulled from the earth with their teeth, Treedwellers who made their homes among the branches like their winged cousins, or instead a third, whose name I have not retained, who walled themselves up in small caverns with only a small opening for subsistence or urgent communications.

Back at the trail nexus, I considered more intently than I had that morning the headlands extending to either side of the cove and framing the strand. A stretch of coldwater, shell-based sand, the pocket beach, aptly named Sand Beach, presented rather unusual traits due to the factors surrounding its formation. In such temperatures, gases could not work on shells as they might elsewhere, nor did the local rock lend itself to dissolution. But the presence of a rock outcropping at the cove’s mouth, just the rock to which my companion and I had debated the merits of swimming, diverted a current inward which captured shell fragments, thereafter accumulating in the glacially formed pocket. The precariously formed beach, itself the greatest of contingent happenings, will disappear with the first hurricane to come ashore, as per an officer on site.

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