Saturday, January 01, 2005

On the Sound

Shortly before noon yesterday the Norwalk River was glassy and gray. I needed to kill about 45 minutes while my wife and daughter were occupied elsewhere, so I took my 6-year-old to the park (Veterans Park?) in East Norwalk and we walked along the river opposite the boatyards and marinas. An outboard-powered Whaler sped toward the islands, cutting the middle of the river like a zipper. Dozens of Canada geese floated offshore, and eight buffleheads bobbed and dived. We walked across the pebbles, the fragments of oyster shells, and the red and green plastic of spent shotgun shells, and over the ribbed mussels that clung to the base of the shorn cordgrass. The islands were gray in the distance and Long Island a smudge beyond.

Through my binoculars I examined the Eben A. Thacher, which was tied up alongside the old Talmadge Brothers oyster house, now Hillard Bloom Shelllfish Inc. Not a soul stirred there.

We followed the shore as it curved east. A lone hooded merganser swam near two oyster boats, the Catherine M. Wedmore and the Laurel (from Port Norris, N.J.). They were tied up in East Norwalk, near Terry Backer's headquarters, whose clapboards, windows and eaves each seemed to line up at a different angle. Through the binoculars, I read a blue sign on a building next to Terry's: "Norm Bloom & Son, Oysters and Clams."

We walked back to the car. In the park, fish crows competed with ring-billed gulls to tear apart a fast food bag.


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