May. The sounds of traffic, construction, blackbirds and robins, ducks and osprey drift around me. No one else is at my favorite spot in Swan Point cemetery, under the oak just footsteps from the Seekonk River. Insects fly all around me, but none seem to be biting. The maples and birches are leafing out. I can smell the marsh. Living in Providence, I have realized that I do not need a deep forest or empty beach to feel at peace. As busy as the soundscape is, I feel calmer than I have all morning.
September. The tide is low. I see gulls loafing on the other side of the river, along with herons and great egrets. The shoreline on this side stinks, like garbage or guano. There’s a bit of a breeze, and the birches are starting towards yellow. I just heard an osprey call – they love to circle overhead here. The sun is warm on my chest and sparrows are dancing in the goldenrod. Small fish jump just offshore. I wonder what they are and who is underneath them. I am so lucky to live here. I need to figure out how to hold on to these moments and worry less about the big stuff. The little stuff, these moments, are what the day is made of.
November. The oaks are magnificent. I see only gulls, but have the binoculars out in hopes an eagle or osprey will fly by.
May. It’s warm enough to sit under the oak again. Swans hug the opposite shore, but otherwise I see few birds. The wind smells salty and I hear construction. The last time I was here, the snow was deep. I felt like I was the only one in the world. Now I’m listening to red winged black birds and robins sing. What is Swan Point to me? It’s a place to reflect on what’s before me: the sounds, sights, and smells of this tiny bit of well-used and loved shore. It’s a place to reflect on what is good in my life and what I can and should do.