Humans and Other Interesting Creatures

Even though we are in the middle of a new adventure, in a place and in an environment we have never lived, we find ourselves falling into habits. We get up at more or less the same time each day, we sit down in the same chairs for coffee, we follow a similar routine. It is natural to fall into patterns.

While we follow our new morning rituals, we have been able to observe someone else’s. Every day, as we sit at our window sipping coffee, we get to watch the same interesting drama play itself out. First, a man and his two collies, one tan and white, the other black and white, come down the main St. Enogat steps onto the beach. The man lets the two dogs off their leashes and the tan one makes a dash towards the edge of the surf, right under our window. Every morning, without fail, he barks at the tide as he chases it in and out, back and forth, occasionally biting at the water. His companion dog, the black one, stays glued to his master’s side as the two of them wait and watch. The human is an attractive older man, always dressed in red pants, blue boots and jacket, a knit cap and a black face mask.

The black collie has only three legs and so he rocks as he follows his master. The tan dog also has a kind of rocking gait, which at first I thought was possibly a learned behavior or a gesture of solidarity, but when I once saw him up close, I noticed that his two back legs work as one. These creatures, all three of them, have found a place in our hearts and in our own morning program. Their distance company on the beach marks the beginning of our day. We also see them in the afternoon and in town.

Of course as time goes along, we get to know, at least by sight, the other characters who make their daily visit to the shore. There is the elderly and rather overweight gentleman who runs up and down the beach several times in the afternoon, impressively pushing himself forward as he huffs and puffs. There are the two women who, dressed in wet suits, walk through the water from east to west, talking as they ambulate. There are kite flyers, boogie boarders and some who swim even in chilly weather. Mostly, like us, there are the mask-wearing bundled up couples who enjoy their stroll while watching the rhythm of the waves.

We often see what I would like to call an entire herd of oyster catchers, the black and white sea birds with long orange beaks and legs that frequent the local beaches. They always arrive in a mass and each one takes up his post. They all stand perfectly still, perhaps listening or feeling some vibration. Then they peck away at the sand below their feet to find a tasty burrowing morsel. After a few minutes they all disappear together.

During very low tides human oyster catchers appear, perhaps they are too difficult to see in this photo, but they line the edge of the water and search for little morsels as well. In truth, neither the bird nor the human is likely to find an oyster, far more likely a mussel.

There are a couple of guys who consistently fish at the water’s edge, casting out their short line, waiting for a bite. They are very patient, casting over and over again as the tide rolls in. We have never seen them catch anything, but they never seem to lose heart,

We also occasionally have a rider and his beautiful horse that gallop back and forth. Even if we don’t see them every day, we often find hoof prints in the sand.

My favorite observation was of a cormorant, almost as big as a swan, diving under the surf and swimming completely submerged for many seconds as she searched for her breakfast. Above, closely tracking her movements, was a seagull who had every intention of stealing her meal. The sea gulls seem to make their living illegally in constant petty larceny. One morning Rick was leaning out the window eating his morning toast when a seagull flew right into his face in an attempt to rob him of his meal. Scoundrel!

The back windows don’t look out onto the ocean, but we often find ourselves there nonetheless, as that is the direction from which the sun pours in at midday. There is a beautiful Scots Pine and a small olive tree that live in the back yard. They attract lots of in land birds who forage under their branches.

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