Sunday, July 22, 2012

Post-Apocalyptic Beauty

          Lovell Island where we set our camp has a post-apocalyptic feel to it.  The islands, filled with ruined forts and bunkers, are a testament to American military history and nation-building.   As part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Parks Area they have guarded the port of Boston from pirates in the early days of the Massachusetts Bay Colony, to German U-boats in World War II.  Some of the more notable inhabitants were the prisoners, from early Indians to confederates and deserters in the Civil War.

          On an eroded drumlin near our campsite rested an enormous block of concrete, the remnant of an underground bunker that housed the soldier who watched the harbor for enemy ships and submarines, ready to set off large, hulking mines stuffed with tons of TNT.

          This urban archipelago is a geologic relic of the last ice age when the area was covered by a mile-thick glacier.  As the ice came and went it deeply scoured the land, leaving behind the great lakes and long valleys.  In others places the retreating glaciers left an impressive variety of mounds of rubble and earth.  The Islands arise from a drowned field of drumlins.  The term itself comes from the Irish word droimnín, meaning a "little ridge."

          The beaches are covered by gray mounds of rounded slate of beautiful shapes and configurations.  We wandered around on the intertidal zone picking up some of the more curious stones, pieces of sea glass, bits of shells and other interesting tidbits, including an old whiskey bottle with a message inside, which instructed us to learn history and be grateful, among other things.

          Before the nearby skyline of Boston lit the evening horizon with city lights, the sky put on its own display of colors.  The wind blew gently and was fresh, salty, and cool.  And I was indeed grateful to have found such a beautiful place so close to home.