Welcome to a very special Touched By Words ~ the journey of a writer January 2018 Blog.  This month I am tickled pink and honored to have two-time Emmy nominee, Master Mariner and op-ed columnist and Facebook friend Andrew Giles Buckley as my guest writer. Andrew and I have been chatting on FB, enjoying one another’s posts, humor, commentary by a variety of folks who have found the peace of mind to stay away from volatile topics these days, but stick to important issues, laugh, support and simply enjoy one another’s company. I was introduced to Andrew by fellow writer Serena Jewell. She knew I had fallen in love with Chatham MA last year and how important it became in finishing my first book. Andrew was kind enough to explain the significance of ‘the breach’ at the lighthouse and where to find information on the area. I look forward to his photographs, stories, and videos of the area, it takes me right back to one of the most beautiful places on the East Coast. So, bundle up, grab a cup of piping hot Cumberland Farms Mocha-Coffee (Andrew’s coffee of choice when reporting live daily from the Chatham Lighthouse!) and enjoy the read.


by Andrew Giles Buckley

A long stretch of light gray cloudy glass ran up the narrow inlet, thick and heavy. In the mild – as much as one should ever expect in early January, especially following a two week stretch of solidly-below 20-degree temperatures – air, the cool breeze from the southeast carried moisture.

Rain had been forecast for later, and on top of the still-frozen ground, created the danger of flooding. My gravel driveway had begun to thaw rapidly, to a point, and my foot moved upon a surface that felt like walnuts scattered upon cold brownie batter.

What was near 50 today and tomorrow would then become 24 degrees by the end of the day. Caught just wrong, it could be a flash-freeze creating endless swathes of black ice by the evening.

But that was tomorrow’s peril. What held my attention this morning was the state of Rock Harbor. I’d come here from my physical therapy appointment to heal my back injury-du-jour. Slippery surfaces were in my awareness, and now I was looking at a massive one.

A single sheet – no – a single layer of ice extended from the dock at the fish market down the channel to the end of the jetty and beyond, out into the bay. It was broken only by a thin line marking the pilings that runs parallel to the channel. There, another, narrower slab lay parallel, solid to the bulkhead.

Where I had once walked with friends, watching Sofie run along the docks below the parking lot, there was nothing. Nothing but the ice, brutal and blank in the gray sky it reflected glassily.

Certainly, I’ve seen ice before. Growing up on the Oyster Pond, I would wait and watch to see if it would freeze over in the winter. One very unusual Christmas, we managed to get snow the night before. I woke to find the salt water overnight covered by a blanket of snow. It may have been that winter when my father brought an ax and an eel pole and took me out onto the pond. The ice was a foot thick. And I still was amazed that by simply sticking the long pole into the mud, in the first hole, we snagged an eel.

There were winters when it never froze. That’s been my measure of how hard a winter it is. Did the OP freeze? And secondly, for how long? Three years ago, during the Winter From Hell, it stayed frozen throughMarch. But then, all the harbors froze and no one could get out to go clamming or quahogging. What we had this past NewYear’s was a mini-version of that, lest we forget.

The sudden warm-up and the rain had come to sweep and polish the surface of Rock Harbor. No snow remained. A thin layer of fresh water, being less dense than salt water, floated on top. I once tripped going up the main staircase at the StateHouse. Marble is very hard when applied directly to the knee. That’s what this harbor ice reminded me of. Beautiful, cold, indifferently dangerous.

This winter was forecast to be more mild than usual. It doesn’t feel so, but

February could bring daffodils for all we know now. This mis-projection by NOAA does not undercut their expertise as much as it does raise the increasing erratic nature of weather. While the eastern third of NorthAmerica was extremely cold for an extended period, the rest of the world was hitting record highs. Asphalt was melting

in Australia. It is not unconnected – the cold that would normally be in the rest of the world, and especially in the Arctic, got pushed down to us. The political ramifications when the center of world and economic policymaking is getting the exact opposite climate as the rest of the world is troubling.

If you don’t think politicians won’t make decisions based on what’s out the window you’ve never been to a ski resort in northernNew Hampshire in March. What if an unanticipated effect of climate change means we here get our own bubble of climate the polar opposite of everyone else on the planet?

It certainly won’t change sea level rise. That is happening. Tides on the shore are higher than when I was a kid, on regular basis. The flooding we saw in the Little Beach area of Chatham was bound to happen, but no one thought this soon.

Maybe during a tropical hurricane, not followed by ice floes.

With the decimation of our barrier beach system, now flattened and scattered to the south and west, we’re exposed like never before to the Atlantic. Summer and winter. All the time. This is the New Normal.

These are the facts. The water is higher and getting higher. We’re going to feel that. Even if it’s colder here, it is hotter everywhere else. Whether we choose to believe it makes no matter to the ocean that covers most of this planet. It will come for us, the shore dwellers, indifferently.

If not with blistering heat, then solidly in ice.


About Patty Young

Patricia Young spent most of her life in the Northeast. Before the casinos arrived and many of the safety rails installed, she would walk Bushkill Falls and enjoy time in a little cabin by Meadow Lake near the Delaware Water Gap. The school year was spent in New Jersey, but many summers were spent in Mississippi where she wandered in the woods, ride horses, reading comic books and played with cousins. After graduating from college with a degree in education, she taught fifth grade in Queens. When rent climbed higher than her salary she working for a defense industry in Yonkers before starting a small business called, The Giving Tree Day Care. For fifteen years she was fondly "held hostage by two year olds!" Writing every day for in a notebook for each child to keep communication open and flowing to the families. Fast forward to the spring of 2013 diagnosed with sever carpal tunnel syndrome (she does NOT recommend having both hands done at the same time! Often wondering "What was I thinking?!") Physical therapy and time slowly began the healing process and gardening strengthened her hands. After an unexpected, but deeply personal journey to Montana in the fall of 2013 she decided it was time to reinvent herself and embrace her passion for words. With renewed confidence, and a plan to do the work necessary to become a writer, she began writing every day (with the help of - thank you Kellianne and Buster!), submitting to a variety of magazines and contests to practice the craft. As well as participating in the Learning to See poetry programs offered at the local library. Attending writing retreats, workshops, lectures, taking classes, reading and immersing herself in the process. She began to work with writers and authors in the tri-state area. Presently living in Westchester New York Patricia lives with her husband of 29 years, two daughters – both attending college and grad school and a dear college friend – all under the roof of a little cape cod. Its snug – but the laughter and support is rich and full! Patricia is working on her first novel with her editor, with hopes and dreams and fingers crossed to find an agent in the fall of 2015. You are invited to join her on this journey of a writer. To experience her trials, successes and stumbles along the way. Perhaps it will help you find your brave, and if writing is in your soul - to join her. Share your stories and maybe together we will unravel some of the complexities of this life. To heal, hope and learn what we can from one another, in the time we have. To listen and hear one another's stories. Breathe Deep, Think Peace Patty
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