A July Tanka in January


Rocks become islands
rising from a table sea.
Cardboard ships sail in,
seize gold, quarrel over it,
cranky as housebound children.


It was a rainy day.  This game was being played by adults, but the pirate characters they created to captain the ships were definitely argumentative.  And there is something about a summer place and memories.  It is as if the sounds of children of years past continue to hang in the rafters.

I got the picture when the players were away from the table; I like the wavy lines in the wood.  May we all have good fortune in 2014.


Hong Kong II: A Seaside Village

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As I noted in a previous post, the city of Hong Kong with its harbor is on the north of Hong Kong Island.  A half hour trip by taxi or bus takes one to villages on the southern side of the island.  One of these is Shek O.  On the November Sunday we visited, the beach was busy, although swimming was forbidden; the shark net had been taken in for repairs.  The cans and flags you can just make out in this photo marked sections for a sand castle competition which had been held earlier in the day.shek o beach trimmed

We walked along a side street of the village and saw a variety of houses.  One looked traditional, but not very friendly.shek o classic house

Another shared its profusely blooming plants.shek o balcony

One up the hill was brilliantly painted, and the paint was brought out by the afternoon sun.shek o bright house trimmed

The way the side of the beach ran straight into the water reminded me that clusters of islands are peaks in a mountain range.  The same is true of the islands on the coast of Maine, although there the tides give the rocks a harder time – our place in Maine is 22 degrees of latitude north of Hong Kong.  That’s quite a difference.

Last Look at Shek O Beach

Last Look at Shek O Beach

Maine Rocks

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rocks 1

Rocky Beach

Dropped stock
from an enormous
overturned truck.

rocks 2

Maine Rocks

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We live near a rocky beach where I like to walk.  Walking on rocks uses the leg muscles differently from a flat surface, so it takes me a few trips to get my “rock legs” back.

low tide

I didn’t pay a lot of attention to tides on my visits to the coast as a child, but at this latitude they are significant.  The vertical difference between high and low tide is about ten feet.  On the sloping beach that covers a wide stretch; all of the rocks in these two photos will be under water at high tide.


The highest tides leave little walking space.  The best time to walk is mid-tide or lower, when the rocks have had time to dry out.  (Slipping on a wet rock is definitely dangerous.)  So I am very much aware of the fact that the tides shift by up to an hour each day.  And I wonder what the world would be like if the moon did not take longer or less than 24 hours to go around the earth.  The tides would always be at the same time.  And would the moon look the same to us too, always rising at the same time and in approximately the same shape?  How dull!  The phases of the moon not there to help early humans begin to make calendars!

I was pleased to see that my “tree lizard” had survived the winter.   (See “The Giant Lizard of Lounsberry Beach” posted June 28, 2012.)  While a large log rolled up on the beach by storms often stays there, it is usually tossed around quite a bit, and acquires some new seaweed dressing.

tree withh rock

I’ll be checking in with him to see if there’s a sequel to his story.