I'm less likely to take long walks on the local beach in the summertime, but after torrential morning thunderstorms the air was thick and still, threatening more rain, and enticing to me.
The summer birds are less varied than the winter visitors. We have a tern colony, noisily defending a patch of beach delimited by symbolic fences purportedly for the less common piping plovers, of which I saw none.
As I walked across the beach in front of this patch of reeds, blocking the view of the salt marsh behind, the skies blackened with wheeling flocks of what? Mosquitoes, locusts, bats? No, these are swallows, thinned out substantially in the moments it took me to pull out my camera and record the speckled sky.
This was my treat for the day: walking an extra half hour farther along the beach, beyond familiar territory, I came upon this odd relic, exposed only at the lowest of tides. Puzzlement makes me want to make up a history: devotional sculpture of an extinct race obsessed with slotted lumps and holes; ancient defensive barricades against amphibious landing parties? Or maybe just chance erosion by waves of the erratics scraped by glaciers from the New England bedrock and left here to amaze.
More likely an old, failed, and weathered attempt to forestall the nor'easter storm surges' effect on the sandy bluffs holding up expensive homes with water views above.