Water is a phenomenal substance. It is believed that where water does not exist life does not exist. Consider the hunt for signs of water in our solar system — Mars for instance — in hopes of divining evidence of once-upon-a-time life. Water is a shape-changer; between ice and steam there is dew, mist, fog, drizzle, rain, snow, sea-smoke —the list could go on.
Scientifically we understand the molecule of water (two hydrogen and one oxygen atoms - H2O) quite well. Water freezes at 32˚ fahrenheit or 0˚ celcius; it boils at 212˚ F or 100˚ C; a gallon of water weighs 8 pounds. The human body is 60 to 70 per cent water, and 80 per cent of the earth is covered by water — again, the list of water facts could go on.
In spite of all that is known about water, the various forms of water that we can experience daily – no, hourly – on Block Island borders on the magical. Putting aside the obvious: seawater, ponds and harbors, water drenches and mesmerizes us in many ways.
Embark on an early morning walk on any day in June and you will note that as the walk precedes and the day lightens the dry grasses underfoot will turn wet and silvery with dew. A sunny afternoon stroll with Clay Head in the distance and a fog bank offshore may be clear heading out and swaddled in grey returning. Of course the opposite is also possible. Many a boat trip has left Pt. Judith and traversed the sound in thick fog only to emerge into the island’s cone of sun. Greeters on the dock note the damp bags, hair and eye lashes with droplets of fog still clinging, and instantly know that the air offshore is saturated with water.
Water, in one form or another, is an elemental component of the Island. June is the month of fog. Of course there is a scientific explanation of this stuff fog, but the images and encounters with it are mystifying. Fog can be thick like cotton batting, or thin and wispy like gauze. Fog can have discreet boundaries: it is in town but not at the beach; the West Side can be inundated in fog, but the New Harbor clear. Fog can feel hot and cloying or cool and soothing. Fog can wrap us in wonder and comfort, or it can feel like a straight jacket.
Although fog obscures the sight it can amplify sound and scent. Bird song, peepers, crickets, and bell buoys all sound more crystalline when propagated through fog. And a foggy June walk will be cloaked in the dewy scent of blackberry blossoms, beach roses and clover.
The following events and Ocean View Foundation programs will provide opportunities to steep June’s wonders in droplets of dew and fog.
June 2 at 8:30 p.m. Twilight Walk at Hodge Preserve, Corn Neck Rd.;
June 5 and 19, at 8 a.m.: Crazy-as-a-Coot Bird Walk, call 595-7055 for location;
June 19: New Fog Moon;
June 24: at 9 p.m. Night Sky Viewing & Twilight Walk at Hodge Preserve, Corn Neck Rd.;
June 25: Ocean View Foundation Summer Weekly Programs begin;
June 30: 8:30 p.m. Sense of Wonder Night Walk call 401-595-7055 for location and to sign up.
* Go to the Ocean View Foundation Face Book page to learn about the connection between dew and spittlebugs.