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- Wednesday, Aug. 02, 2006

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- Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Entry in the air
- Friday, April 21, 2006

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- Thursday, April 20, 2006

Music of the moment
- Wednesday, March 1, 2006



101 in 1001
American Road Trip, 1998


Dancing Brave
Fugging It Up
Kitty Sandwich
Mister Zero
Sideways Rain


My crew
Our host

2000-12-12 - 23:28:41

Blowin in the wind

The rain stopped as Nick turned into the road that went up through the orchard. The fruit had been picked and the fall wind blew through the bar trees. Nick stopped and picked up a Wagener apple from beside the road, shiny in the brown grass from the rain. He put the apple in the pocket of his Mackinaw coat.

The road came out of the orchard on to the top of the hill. There was the cottage, the porch bare, smoke coming from the chimney. In back were the garage, the chicken coop and the second-growth tinber like a hedge against the woods behind. The big trees swayed far over in the wind as he watched. It was the first of the autumn storms.

As Nick crossed the open field above the orchard the door of the cottage opened and Bill came out. He stood on the porch looking out.

"Well, Wemedge," he said.

"Hey, Bill," Nick said, coming up the steps.

They stood together looking out across the country, down over the orchard, beyond the road, across the lower fields and the woods of the point of the lake. The wind was blowing straight down the lake. They could see the surf along Ten Mile point.

"She's blowing," Nick said.

"She'll blow like that for three days," Bill said.

-- Ernest Hemingway, "The Three-Day Blow"

I wake up this morning to a wicked late-autumn wind whipping against the house. The house is old, so we hear things easily -- the creaking of boards, the rattling of windows, the scratching of branches. Kind of like an old, spooky, scary house in a ghost story or something.

And all through the morning, as I eate breakfast and do nothing of any importance, I keep thinking of that Hemingway story. I don't know why, other than the wind, of course. But I haven't read the story, except for three years ago in college, and we've had wind like this before.

So I find the book with the story, The Nick Adams Stories and after lunch, with the wind still blowing, I drive off toward the beach to see what this weather was doing to the surf.

It is a sunny winter day, and as I drive over the river into Sea Bright, I can see the white caps on the water below, and the choppy seas beyond the beach. I turn north to Sandy Hook, and stop at a parking lot along the beach. The clouds above streak across the sky, looking motorized with a destination to get to. Out on the water, the eastern wind fights the incoming waves, skimming mist off the top of each cresting breaker.

I walk out to the rock wall on one of the beaches, standing there with my back to the wind, warm in my winter coat and hood. As I turn to walk back, I realize I left my sunglasses in the car and am forced to walk back into an eye-watering winter wind on the beach. I keep my head down and literally retrace my steps -- the only footprints in the sand in my field of vision are my own from moments ago. They lead me back to the car without my having to raise my face to the wind.

Sitting in my car the wind rocks the vehicle, blowing across the open parking lot. Thirty yards away sits a Ford pickup that arrived when I did, about 20 minutes ago. A Land Cruiser pulls up now with a woman in it, and the man in the pickup gets into the Land Cruiser and they drive off and I wonder if it's an illicit racy rendezvous.

Or if I've been watching too much Ally McBeal.

I continue on down Sandy Hook -- which is really up, as in north, I suppose. I make my way to the end, to Fort Hancock and the collection of late 19th and early 20th Century buildings surrounding the mid-18th Century lighthouse. I find nothing of photographic interest, so I turn around and head off the hook.

Before leaving, I turn down the road for the fishing beach, and stop to walk along one of the trails and shoot some of the dune grass waving in the winter light beside an old gun battery or some such WWI-era structure. The northern tip, the Fort Hancock area of Sandy Hook is dotted with these structures, these old fortifications never really used in actual combat, but more in defense and training.

From Sandy Hook I drive down Ocean Avenue to Asbury Park, taking the completely out-of-the-way, twice-the-distance route to the mall so I can look for the Sopranos filming.

I find it without trouble.

I suppose I could reveal some of what I saw out there on the wind-swept Asbury Park boardwalk, and it might give some hints to what will be seen on the show this season, but I probably shouldn't do that.

I get to see some actual filming, which takes place on the boardwalk, overlooking the barren beach between the casino and Convention Hall. They are also expected to do some interior shots at the nearby Howard Johnson's diner and in the upstairs banquet room.

But that's all I know.

After a short trip to the mall, where I pass yet another new store with loud, obnoxious music and alternative-line clothing, I return to Sandy Hook for a few scenic sunset shots. It's a nice evening, with a dark, navy-blue sky above lightening to the west, then making a smooth transition to orange at the horizon. I set up on a field behind the row of officers houses and silhouette them against the orange glow, highlighted with lights in the distnance across the bay. A bare, leafless tree adds to the foreground composition.

But by this time the wind brings me to shivering, and I do not stay as long as I might on a calm evening. As I fold up my tripod, my eyes start watering to the point where it rolls down my cheeks, and I turn to hustle back to the warmth of the car.

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