I love making lists.
You wouldn’t know it if you tried to follow my organization schemes during the day, but I do make lists, and the lists I like to make usually have to do with things I love.
This time of year, a list might go like the following: the smell of cedar wood fires, salty air, and mudflats, the last fragrances of summer herbs, the color of asters and goldenrod and apples turning, ripe peaches, the sound of waves, round rocks on the beach, the cooler air in the morning.
One of my lists has to do with the people who live here, and the astonishing things they have taught me about everything under the sun — things I never thought I’d need to know, like where to find an emergency sump pump from a neighbor when the church floods in a rainstorm, and things that have changed my life — like where to find quiet respite in a hidden quarry in the woods, or who serves the best fish stew.
On any given day, I never know what new person, or new thing I might learn. A few months ago, some of you may have heard the story of a local beekeeper who saved 25,000 bees who had swarmed in a Gloucester shipyard. It was a wonderful story, of a rainy, rainy day, and a wandering hive of lost bees.
Confused, and protecting their queen, they buzzed into the Marine Railways shipyard. According to eye witnesses, the swarm was 50 feet long by 25 feet wide, and when they landed, the bees coagulated into a basketball-sized mass of buzzing wet dejection on a piece of scaffolding.
Then the bees seemed to consider a move to better quarters, and headed for a nearby electrical box. Naturally, the Fire Department was called, because, to their endless credit, they do come, for all kinds of reasons — even for bees.