It was the strangest sound. Really, it was. Sort of like a snorting sound coupled with a blowing of air and spraying of water. It was an aquatic creature sound, for sure. I have lived near the ocean long enough to know that sound. I wondered if another seal had gotten stuck somewhere between the rocks and shore, although it didn’t sound like a seal.
It was in an area we call “the pond,” an area where seals do not swim. The pond is between two small peninsulas, and the ocean water has been damned off to allow only some water in. The rest is freshwater that flows downward from the craggy land and into the pond. If there’s one thing we have a lot of here in Maine, it’s water. The combination produces a brackish kind of water with some salt but not nearly as much as in the ocean. Consequently, when the weather is very cold, the pond freezes over completely and becomes a mile-long ice skating rink.
|The fog brings out the strangest things.|
But the weather is not very cold and the enormous pond is not frozen over as it usually is this time of year. It usually has a good layer of ice on it with another layer of snow. Usually the wretched coyotes can travel back and forth on it now. But not this year. This year is different.
So, as I said, it was the strangest sound. The fog was tremendously thick, and I peered and peered into it, looking for what had made the sound. I went closer than I should have, but I was afraid to go any closer than that because I was unsure of my footing. Sinking in up to your waist is not good this time of year because even though things aren’t frozen, you can still easily get hypothermia.
I took this photo. This was the best I could do. I know it isn’t clear. I blew the photo up, and it looked a bit like a small protrusion from the water with some twigs and seaweed stuck to it. However, I can tell you that I am very familiar with the area I was in, and there is nothing protruding from the waters of the pond in that area. Nothing. I have seen that area daily for many years. But today there was something there. I just don’t know what it was. I heard a splash and blowing again, and that prompted me to take the picture when I did. Right after I took the photo, whatever had made the noise was gone, and the surface of the water was flat and gray again.
Was it just a trick of the fog moving in and out, even thicker in some spots than others? Maybe, although I wonder where the sound came from if it was just a trick of the fog. It is true that the water plays tricks with our hearing as well, and sometimes I can hear a conversation a half mile across the cove on the next island because of the way the waves amplify and seem to bring sound across. But this was in the pond where there aren’t any waves to speak of.
You can make your own mind up about this, but I have seen enough strange things in Maine to know that something odd was out there. I have seen strange creatures on the side of the road at night when driving. I have seen wolves, although we are told by wildlife “experts” there are none here. Ask any Mainer and they’ll tell you differently, though. There are cougars here too (also called mountain lions and pumas), but we are also told that we are mistaken. No matter. I have seen them.
So I do not know what this was, and I did not get to see it as clearly as I have seen a wolf or a cougar because of the fog. If it had been a rock or earthy outcrop from the water, it would still be there but it disappeared after I took the photo. Something was here, and I think it was here because of the strange weather. Another reason to continue documenting the strange case of Maine.