S. Worthen (owlfish) wrote,
S. Worthen

Woods Hole at night

Fog closes in, obscuring the origins of the lights bobbing on the waters. The town is hushed, infrequently interupted by the eery bellowing of the ferry horn, an alarm to other vessels, or a cry for help, as it was the other night when it stranded. The streetlights are softened. An occasional droplet coalesces on my skin as we walk back from an evening at Captain Kidd's Pirate Bar.

It's a well-stocked bar, complete with pineapple and grapefruit juice and a respectable array of beers on tap. Even I can recognize this, and I don't drink them. The bar is all built in darkened woods, with exposed rafters. Old life preservers, stenciled words faded, hang on the wall. The chairs are all small barrels. Despite all this, the pirate-themed atmosphere is skin deep. At heart, it is an upscale bar, as is nearly every eating establishment I have seen in this town, catering to the tourists and the residents of Martha's Vineyard. This is why the selection, even of mixed drinks, is so good.

We sat on the back porch, built out over the water of the harbor, boats receding into the fog as it gathered over the course of the evening. We discussed the week, the speakers, our speaking styles, stories, our forthcoming travels, and finally drifted off into politics before the evening grew too late. Many of us went back to the hotel then, trailing goodbyes and best wishes in our wake. They'll go on through tomorrow morning, at least for me: breakfast, the bus ride.

It's been an amazing week, a week of reading, editing, writing, discussing, bonding, and eating an extraordinary array of good food. And I've spent this week with an amazing group of people: graduate students, post-docs, young faculty, an independant scholar, popular science writers, science journalists, professors, and deans. They're good people, all, and we all got on well. It was a very egalitarian, supportive, constructive, and thoughtful group. I wish I could ask them to edit all of my papers.

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