A Drive Around the Cape

If Gloucester/Rockport is your home and you’re missing it or can’t get out, this video is for you.  My boys and I were getting a little stir crazy in the house thanks to no school, no hockey, no anything (aka Covid-19) so we took a long drive around the Cape. We thought we would video tape it for those of you who may be missing home….or who are home, but can’t get out. This is Cape Ann: Part #1. Stage Fort Park to Back Beach, Rockport.

Buckle up because it’s a long ride. I thought about speeding it up, but then you would have missed things.  Either way, it was a nice activity to do with the boys (who took turns filming for you) during these unchartered times.

 

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UPDATE ON GLOUCESTER MISSING PERSON ABBIE FLYNN DAY 2

No good news to report. Early this morning there was some activity with a GFD rescue boat searching at Niles Pond but nothing was found.

For the remainder of the day, the area around Niles and Brace Cove was eerily quiet. Gloucester detectives are continuing to follow up on any leads. Residents are checking sheds and outbuildings and neighbors are continuing to walk the paths around the Point in hopes of some sign of Abbie. Our thoughts and prayers go out to Abbie’s family.

Abbie’s disappearance seemed tragically similar to that of Theresa Coen, who went missing from Penzance Road, Rockport, in March of 2018. However, that they both disappeared after heading out for a walk ends the similarity. Theresa’s death was determined to be a suicide.

Yesterday in Rockport

No doubt you heard yesterday that there was an incident at Rockport Middle School.  As a mother of a seventh grade Rockport student I can tell you that it was a long and emotional day.  It was a day of fear…then gratitude…then more fear….some disbelief, some confusion, some relief, some heartache, some disappointment…and lots of love and appreciation.  It was a night spent reassuring, addressing, soothing, explaining, and…mostly, listening.  As I type this (11:30 last night to post tomorrow…which for you is now today) my twelve year old is asleep in my bed next to me for the first time in, like, forever.

I will tell you quickly how the day unfolded in my little corner of the world and then, if you don’t mind, share with you just why I felt some of the things I did.

 
Driving through “Five Corners” in Rockport right around 7:30 a.m. on my way out of town for work, I saw three police cars rushing into Rockport. One was an unmarked car. It was that unmarked black car that made me nervous…that rattled me.  It was that car that set off alarms and made me stop to text my son.  “Are you ok?”  Please, please, please.  “Yes.”  Relief. Exhale. But, then his text continued… “We’re on lock-down. Someone was stabbed. By another student. I think he ran.”  What?  “In the high school?” I asked.  “No, Mom. 7th. In my grade.”  I asked again, “Are you ok?” …..and got no response.
It would be quite a while before I heard from my son again.  In the meantime, I had many thoughts.  He was ok.  But, someone else was not.  Is that really what happened?  Is that just what he thought was happening?  Was there something else going on?  Are the teachers and staff ok? Should I text him again?  Should I call him?  Is his phone on silent?  Is he hiding? Do I really want his phone to make a noise when my message comes through? Does he need me? Is he still ok? If his text was accurate, oh my word….that poor family.
I called my husband and filled him in on the little I knew.  I saw several police cars. I texted our son. This is what he said. Now he’s not answering. Don’t text him or call him.  I don’t want his phone making any noise. Please let me know if you hear more.
I continued on to work.
30 minutes after our initial conversation, thank goodness, another text. “I’m safe, but I can’t text you any more.”
I make a phone call to my husband.
Because I’m at work….I quickly get wrapped up in work.  I want to know more, but there are some immediate things to be taken care of in my office.
At 8:30, an hour after seeing those police cars and first communicating with my son, comes a text from my mother.  “What is happening in Rockport?  I just saw the news.”  I filled her in on what little I knew. I hadn’t thought to call her. I didn’t know it had already made it to the news.
Here is the love and appreciation part…..  for the rest of the day, as news spreads, my phone buzzes with friends reaching out to make sure our son is ok, to send their love, and to acknowledge how scary it must be.  I am so fortunate to have so many amazing people in our lives. Their concern for our boy and his classmates brought tears to my eyes.  The love and kindness they expressed for him…and the community of Rockport…and us…meant the world.
Here, in contrast, is the disappointment part.  I decide to take a moment to see if more information has been shared. It was clear it had been on news channels, but I can’t find it online.  I turn to Facebook and look at the Rockport Middle School page…where I’m sure there couldn’t possibly be an update, but was the first place I thought to check.  I then check out the Rockport Police page….also fully assuming that no one would have been able to share an update. Obviously…and understandably…there is no news.  What I do find, however, on other forums, is a circus of blame and finger pointing and judging. I find people who are convinced that they know exactly why something like this could happen.  Convinced that it was because of this….or because of that.  People who were so quick to assume…while an emergency was still unfolding…so quick to put out to the world what they would have done differently. A frenzy of information shared….some it turns out correct, some it turns out, not.
As I’m reading, a phone call comes in from the school….and then thereafter, an email with the exact same message.  A serious physical assault, one student has been transported to the hospital, one student is in custody, police have determined it is safe to continue with school, as parents you obviously have the right to dismiss your child as you see fit. 
More appreciation….  I also find, thank goodness…goodness.  Many parents supporting each other.  Other community members expressing concern, thoughts, and prayers for all involved.  Many thanking the school and the first responders.  Some people offering to pick up other’s children. Support, thoughts and prayers, importantly I think, to both families.
I work, the day continues to unfold, our son asks to be picked up, my husband gets him, he’s home safely.  We talk briefly….  helicopters, police, I saw her down on the floor, I saw her mother arrive at the school, “yes” I know the boy.
Here’s the thing.  We live in a very small community.  Even beyond our town lines to Gloucester is truly not that big.  It’s most often beautiful.  Idyllic, many would say. A place where people care for each other, rally for each other, and gather to get through hard times.  Often. Yes, my son has a very small number of children in his seventh grade class at Rockport Middle School so, of course, he knows the children involved.  But, it doesn’t end there.  He knows, and truly adores, the extended family of the child who did this as well. We all do.  So, obviously, I immediately reach out.  “Thinking of you. This can not be easy.  I’m so sorry.” In fact, this person is, not at all surprisingly because she is so great, one of the first people who reached out to me upon hearing the news of something happening in Rockport.  Not knowing at the time, how this would come to unfold…and the news she would soon get.
At home we finally have time to really talk.  My son expressed lots of sadness, fear, and emotion. He was very concerned for his hospitalized classmate…and her closest of friends, confused by the actions of another classmate…yet, aware that there were probably issues and circumstances that he does not know or can not understand, sad for both families, worried about his friends from outside of his school who are now suddenly dealing with a different type of sadness and concern and shock, and of course (and heartbreakingly)…maybe for the first time ever…really scared for himself.
We are very thankful to the Rockport school system and for those in Gloucester who jumped in to assist.  We are very thankful to all of the first responders. There are so many people to think of and keep in our thoughts or prayers right now.  I hope that others can just wish for the best for all involved and not point fingers.  Not interject how they could have prevented this situation…not make assumptions.  Instead use that energy to send healing thoughts to the young girl, her hurting family, and her very scared friends.  Continue to think of them through what will no doubt be an incredibly difficult time ahead…even after the physical healing begins to take place.  Also try, as part of this close community, to try to understand the pain and sadness that is no doubt being felt by the other family involved. Consider, for a moment, what that might also feel like. Be kind.

 

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FULL FROST MOON RISING BETWEEN TWIN LIGHTHOUSES

Tonight’s full (appropriately named) Frost Moon rising between  the Twin Lights. The Frost Moon is also known as the Beaver Moon and Mourning Moon. Oh how I wish I had my tripod with me tonight, but this image is fun anyway. I think it would make a better painting.

ONLY A FEW SEATS LEFT FOR THE JESSE COOK CONCERT AT THE SHALIN LIU

PURCHASE TICKETS HERE

My husband and I are huge fans of Jesse Cook and with gorgeous music and extraordinary musicianship, his concerts are not to be missed. Tom introduced me to his work several years ago when I was looking for a uniquely beautiful sound to score a short film for the Berkshire Museum, about butterflies in flight, for which Jesse graciously and generously permitted. More about Jesse and Monarchs when my forthcoming documentary is released.

Jesse Cook travels the world with his fingers. Through his globe-spanning and genre-bending compositions, the nimble-fingered guitarist has taken nouveau flamenco to places it has never been, creating new fascinating hybrids.  As one of the most celebrated instrumentalists on the planet, Cook is forever restless, constantly searching for new sounds, rhythms and textures to explore.

Born in Paris and raised in Toronto, Cook studied classical and jazz guitar, and as a child was always intrigued by the highly rhythmic rumba flamenco style. Following up on that curiosity, Cook dove headfirst into the gypsy musical tradition as he began to find his own musical voice. After a show-stopping performance at the 1995 Catalina Jazz Festival, Cook’s little-heard debut, Tempest, suddenly took off in the U.S., landing at # 14 on the Billboard Charts. Cook’s career has seen steady growth in the years that followed, his multi-cultural take on rumba flamenco striking a nerve with listeners. One of the hallmarks of his sound and aesthetic is to travel the world, meeting and collaborating with artists and incorporating the results into his music. In addition to headlining concerts and festivals, he has opened for such legends as B.B. King, Ray Charles, The Chieftains and Diana Krall.

In 1998, Cook was nominated for a Juno Award as Instrumental Artist of the Year. In 2001, he received a Juno Nomination for Best Male Artist, as well as winning in the Best Instrumental Album category for Free Fall. In 2009, he was Acoustic Guitar’s Player’s Choice Award silver winner in the Flamenco category. He is a three-time winner of the Canadian Smooth Jazz award for Guitarist of the Year and numerous other awards.  Over twenty years into his career, Cook is now forging more than just musical traditions of the world. With his 2015’s One World, he is now forging the ancient with the modern, infusing contemporary sounds of the electronic digital age into his timeless rumba flamenco rhythms.

“…lightning fast and bright flamenco guitarist…Jesse Cook…is about as seductive, percussive and danceable as this kind of music gets…also a powerful pop songwriter, with each melody standing out above the weaving rhythms sung by his intoxicating strings.” Jazziz

#GLOUCESTERMA #NOREASTER LIGHTHOUSE, GOOD HARBOR BEACH, BACKSHORE, BRACE COVE, TWIN LIGHTS ROCKERS AND ROLLERS

Photos from 10:00 this morning, about half an hour before high tide.

I Am More Project

Rockport “I Am More” Reception

 The Rockport Police Department will be opening their doors to the public this Thursday evening (April 25th) from 7-9 pm for a reception featuring eight of the I Am More portraits by Gloucester artist Amy Kerr with accompanying essays on display in the Community Room at 168 Main Street in Rockport. The pastel and colored pencil portraits of mostly Cape Ann residents are displayed with essays by the subjects that describe all the ways they are more than their depression, alcoholism, bi-polar disorder, grief, suicidal thoughts, eating disorder, anxiety and panic attacks. There will be information available about free health and wellness resources available in Cape Ann, along with light refreshments.

 A big thank you to Chief John Horvath and retired Rockport Police Officer Roger Lesch for making this event possible.

 

 

 

TWIN LIGHTS FROM GOOD HARBOR BEACH LIFTING FOG

The Twin Lights were slipping in and out of visibility from Good Harbor Beach this afternoon. It was beautiful, and even more so when the sun peeked out for a bit. All three Piping Plovers were seen and unfortunately, so were a bunch of dogs 😦

North Light

Thacher Island North and South Lights

RARELY SEEN ON CAPE ANN – A BLACK VULTURE!

Over the winter, a Black Vulture has been calling Cape Ann home. My friend Lois first alerted me to this back in December where he has been seen quite often in Rockport. I have been trying to capture some footage of him/her but only ever saw him soaring high above. The Black Vulture in flight is stunning and you can recognize the bird by its distinctive white wing tips.

As luck would have it, East Gloucester resident Larry shared a photo recently and his friend Frank generously allowed me to stop by and take some photos and footage!

White wing tips of the Black Vulture

Being found mostly in South America, Central America, and the southern US, the Black Vulture’s range does not historically include Cape Ann (nor anywhere in Massachusetts). The bird’s range has been expanding northward since the early decades of the previous century and it is safe to say there may even be a few pairs breeding in the furthest most western regions of Massachusetts!

Black Vultures feed primarily on carrion. They fly high above on thermal winds looking for dead creatures, and also follow Turkey Vultures, which reportedly have a better sense of smell and can more easily locate carcasses. Black Vultures also kill skunks, possums, Night Herons, turtle hatchlings, chickens, young livestock, and sickly small pets. And, too, they pick through dumps and dumpsters, and even wade into water for small fish and floating carrion. It’s no wonder their range is expanding!

The Black Vulture visiting Frank’s yard appeared to be communicating with Frank. Black Vultures lack a voice box; instead of singing, one of the sounds they make is a low ruff sort of bark. Frank can imitate the bark perfectly, and the bird barks back!

Black Vulture Historic Status in Massachusetts, from Mass Audubon:

The first Black Vulture identified in Massachusetts was shot in Swampscott in November of 1850. The second appeared in Gloucester on September 28, 1863, where it, too, was killed (Howe & Allen 1901). Throughout the next century, the bird was considered an accidental straggler in Massachusetts; and, by the middle of the nineteenth century, the species was on the move from its deep Southern roots, breeding in southern Maryland for the first time in 1922 (Court 1924) and in Pennsylvania by 1952 (Brauning 1992).

If you see Cape Ann’s Black Vulture hanging around your property, please let me know at kimsmithdesigns@hotmail.com. Thank you so much!

Comparing Black Vulture to Turkey Vulture

Black Vulture Range Map

Sorellanza Wants to Sing for You!

Sorellanza Concert New Year’s Eve!

Rockport Congregational Church  

Shows at 6 & 7 PM

Join us for an eclectic a cappella journey of inspiration, ferocity, wonder
and a bit of reverie, too! Patti Pike, Musical Director. 
Click to Purchase ButtonsVolunteer 
or see Rockport New Year’s Eve Schedule

And so the shortest day came
and the year died, and everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world came people singing, dancing, to drive the dark away.

They lighted candles in the winter trees.
They hung their homes with evergreen.
They burned beseeching fires all night
long to keep the year alive.
And when the new year’s sunshine blazed awake they shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them echoing behind us – Listen!

All the long echoes sing the same delight, this Shortest Day, as promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.
           (by Susan Cooper)