Thursday, July 30, 2009

Beavertail Lighthouse

The island I live on when I'm back in New England is pretty special. Not really big enough to attract much attention, it's been bypassed by most developers. There's a shortage of water on the island as well, and that's shaped the zoning laws that control building. Jamestown just isn't attractive to the companies that want to provide us with burgers, pizza and $5.00 flavored lattes. I don't think we'll ever see a McDonalds here. Just across the Newport Bridge, recently renamed the Claiborne Pell Bridge, (the same US senator that the Pell Grants are named for) things are very different. Compare and contrast these two images:

Jamestown, RI (Conanicut Island)

Newport, RI (Aquidneck Island)

Mostly I stay on my side of Narragansett Bay, where yesterday was foggy and 100 percent humidity. I took a ride down to the lighthouse at Beavertail Point, just a mile south of my house and when I arrived, my glasses were coated with tiny beads of water, even though it wasn't raining. I took some pictures of America's third oldest lighthouse, and also some of the old gun batteries that are sprinkled around the southern tip of the island. Conanicut Island was invaded by the British back in 17 seventy something and a gun battery further up the coast that controlled the west passage to Providence was burned by them. The gun emplacements I was looking at yesterday were built during the Second World War to protect us from the Germans, but I don't think they saw much action. And I believe that the majority of the "British" who landed during the Revolutionary War were actually also Germans. Hessians, to be specific, who were fighting for the British as mercenaries.

All of which convinces me that I can find excuses to keep up this blog, that is essentially one American's commentary on things German, indefinitely. I've have a few comments in the last week from readers speculating about the future of Forschungsjahr, a blog that was supposed to document a sabbatical year in Germany. My year is just about over now and I too have been thinking about what the future might bring to the blog. I imagined originally that I would be reporting on progress in Essen toward the Kulturhauptstadt 2010 preparations and similar issues. Instead the blog turned into a soapbox, from which I spouted about just about anything that grabbed my interest. Germany, the Ruhrgebiet, Essen, and my experiences there were strong threads running through most of my posts, and I believe that will continue to be the case. I may have to stretch a little to make the "German" connection work, or maybe I won't even bother. Either way, this soapbox is just too much fun. I'm not giving it up.

1 comment:

Charlie H said...

I don't know if you'll have time, but I hope you can investigate the great New England hurricane of 1938, something I learned about only recently by watching too much TV.