Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Spine of the Dragon

Crane Beach, MA (March 19, 2005)

Crane Beach is good for all seasons. In summer to bask in the sun and then cool off in the Atlantic Ocean waters. In winter to seek the solitude of a deserted place, and walk in the blue twilight among drifting ice floats, looking at the horizons having the same shade as the supernaturally calm water.

The Dragon Spine
One day in march 2005, at the end of a New England winter that didn't want to end, I was walking with Jennifer on the northern side of the beach, towards the estuary of the Ipswich river. There we found the remnants of an old wooden boat, emerging from the sand where it must have waited for a long, long time, until the storm that ultimately dug it out for us to see. I too a lot of pictures in the faint light of the vanishing day. The one I prefer is here to the left, the only print among all my photos to be exposed in a museum. A few years ago, when I was still working at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, I submitted the image for a competition reserved to Smithsonian employees, under the "amateur" category (the Smithsonian has also quite excellent professional photographers on its payroll). It won second prize and was exposed for a week in one of the Smithsonian museums in the National Mall. When they returned it to me it was framed in a museum-grade mount; it is now hanging in my office.

When I first posted the images from this photoshoot on my previous blog, I titled the series as "the dragon spine". The reason is in the photo below, which I described as follow:
I had previously been in that part of the beach only once, and I didn't remember the driftwood structure depicted in the photo posted below. At first it looked like the remains of a boat, or some kind of artistic installation . But is only looking at the structure form afat, against the blue horizon painted between the sunset western sky and the ocean, that its true nature is revealed. The dragons have long been gone, and their memories lost in the mists of time, but their remains sometimes still emerge from the cold waters of this nordic ocean, to remind us of the eras when magic was still a powerful force shaping the earth and the sea of this world.
Crane Beach, MA (March 19, 2005)

Update: +Pat Anosters identified the wreck. This is the Ada K. Damon, a shooner that wrecked on Crane Beach on December 16, 1909, during the "Great Christmas Snowstorm" that hit the region, as far south as Maryland. Fortunately the crew of the ship was not on board during the storm, and no lives were lost. See more on the Stories from Ipswich blog.

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