Once upon a time in 2008, magnificent mangroves cocooned the Casa Blanca (aka ‘Riverhouse’ and sometimes ‘Casa Loca”) on the last bend of Rio Jama… The few old photos of that house are not very good, but they show the essence of the area in 2008. Note the trees on the both sides of the house.
Some of you are aware of last year’s loss of those mangroves that stood proud and tall downriver from the house. An excavator arrived and began shoving the mangroves into the river. Dump trucks stockpiled huge boulders to replace the trees and strong arm the river into submission, which distressed one artist, and to her dismay, no one else!
How delighted I was when nature bit back and said, ‘That’s enough!”
Another year passed, and the muni erected a grand sign that presided over the final bend in the river. The sign boasted, “Look what we did!” At night the sign’s sea-monster reflection mingled with the ghosts of those lost mangroves.
Two years after the work began, the area remains sterile. At times the strong current undercuts the rocks, which shift and settle at low tide. The barren area provides a great view of the river, but at a loss of the mangroves that once hosted rookeries of egrets, ibis, frigates, herons and cormorants. I’ve adapted, adjusted and still treasure my life on this last bend of the river. The fishermen and the birdlife provide endless photo opportunities!
Last night I bolted to the deck and squinted through the overcast moonlight when I heard, “Plop! Plop!— Ker-plunk! — Ker-Splassssh!” which sounded like elephants jumping into the river! The sound of rushing current, boulders crashing, and waves racing across the river continued for at least five minutes, though other stragglers joined the swimming party for another half hour. The sound of rushing water replaced the usual sweet silence of the river at low tide. Waves lapped near the house, and I pondered, “Did we just have an earthquake? Did somewhere else have an earthquake hours ago, and this is the beginning of a tsunami?”
Slow to panic, I reasoned that the subtle forces of low-tide currents had finally gobbled enough mud beneath the rocks to trigger a domino effect on the big boulders. Like a child anticipating Santa’s arrival, I went to sleep with expectations of dawn.