Thursday, May 1, 2008

"Then followed that beautiful season..."

To many people, there are undeniable signs of the beginning of Summer.
We've had a cold and quarrelsome Winter here in Darkmouth, the First Town in Massachusetts to Privatize All of Its Schools (if, by "privatize," you mean "making kids and parents pay out of their pockets for everything, even at the public schools." The ones that are left, anyway.). But when our wet and week-long Spring slams into the dry, hard, and rocky soil, the flood of cargo shorts and midriffs smacks the rural sidewalks and mall parking lots like downpours on stonewalls and plastic lawn ornaments.
It's time to tumble headlong into Summer, and there's only one true signification that marks the switch from hot buttered rum to cold gin and tonic. So, fully understanding the risk of rushing the season...

Padanaram Bridge Opening Season begins Today.
Our little hamlets (the farms of South Dartmouth, the urban-identifying sections of South Dartmouth, and the cottages of Padanaram, a tiny little division of South Dartmouth) have rafted up all Winter, moored to a stretch of Gulf Road known (to the Commonwealth, anyway) as Gulf Bridge. We call it "Padanaram Bridge."
Even while the laying of community sewage lines (and subsequent road construction) defied the menacing frost heaves and continued nearly unabated (providing employment for dozens of neglected detail cops), we awaited The Opening of the Bridge.
And now it's finally here! The official press release states:

The bridge will open on the hour and the half hour from 6-8 a.m. and 8-9 p.m.
The bridge will open on the hour between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Opening Day distinctly specifies, for those particularly invested in the SouthCoast's class war, the uneasy socio-economic difference between Swamper and Snob.
To the Swamper who may never journey to the city because gasoline is expensive and he needs it for the ATV, the perplexity posed by the "bridge open/bridge closed" conundrum holds little interest. For the villagers, the bridge allowing boats to pass means that their geologic connection to the fahmahs is severed, on the hour, albeit briefly.
The Beach is a weird place.
As for me, a trip down Gulf Road at 7:30 a.m. means I get to sit for a while and admire the fleeting beauty of what I daresay is the most comfortably picturesque seaside community in Massachusetts. I don't mind sitting on the causeway to the opened bridge, turning off the car's engine and looking at the Padanaram skyline (if heading east) or the natural marsh timberline (heading west). I count the moored vessels in the harbor, noting the tide and wind direction and mere activity. The regatta's hosted by the Beverly Yacht Club this year, so it'll be quiet. Just quiet enough for some retiree, who pokes at the throttle of the Universal on his O'Day 35', heading out past the Yacht Club to Ricketson's Point and out into the Bay, and maybe, just maybe, set that new jib once he gets out past where the radome used to be at Round Hill.
Summer's here.

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