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  • The water on the Maine coast is cold.
    On the outer Islands it is bone numbing, brain stopping cold.
    But, as I often say, it is the ocean we have, maybe not always the one that we want.
    So we swim in the liquid freezing fire and emerge transformed and purified.

    We spent many childhood summer afternoons on the pebble beach at the cove, swimming until we had goose bumps, and then covering ourselves and each other with sun heated rocks.

    This year we went swimming on New Years Day, some of us with our hats on.
    I am the 4th from the left, and it was 27 degrees outside.
    We played it cool for the camera, but our feet were numb.


    Here is an excerpt from my story Plan B, chapter 11, and page 103:

    Bert remembered the first day he had met Tom, ‘his mechanic’.
    Before the oceans rose there was a special Island cove where he went every summer with his family for a picnic. The Island property had been donated to the preservation funds that Bert supported so he always felt that he was going to his own Island.
    This time he met some of the natives.

    He drove his 550-horse power day cruiser from the Arcadian harbor to the eastern cove of the Island.
    He anchored off the rocky coast, and rowed his wife and two daughters, his son and two son in laws to the shore.
    He gathered wood and built a fire to cook part of their lunch.

    They unpacked hampers full of food.
    What food they used to eat! How easy it was to have any fruit vegetable or meat anytime one wanted.
    The stores were full, the shelves were full, trucks rolled in with more before the first was gone.
    After lunch, the family combed the beach for shells, or dozed against a log, wrapped in a thin blanket.

    Bert went for a swim.
    The water was profoundly cold but he considered it a sign of respect to swim in the water and enjoy the clarity. It was a baptism by freezing fire. He did this every year and knew that afterward, when he got out he would feel a deep calmness and refreshment and the momentary pain would vanish, replaced with a strange pride that he had overcome some terrible foe.
    That being his own fear.

    On this particular day he had come out of the water, dried off, then gone for a brisk walk to warm up and hide his annoyance at the lazzieness the rest of his family suffered from.
    His "string of pearls" beautiful and useless.
    As he walked back he noticed some strangers on the pebble beach.
    They did not have boat, he checked, they must have come through the woods.
    They had no gear with them and he deduced that they must live there.

    He had to walk past them to get to his brood and he admired how sturdy they seemed. Their ankles were thick, like they had been raised on goats milk, they had well toned muscles and coloring from the sun, their hair was unkempt but they were handsome in an unconventional manner.
    They were wearing swimming costumes.
    “Are you going in?” he asked the first one, the male of the group.
    “Oh yes,” the man grinned.
    “How about you, are you going in?” Bert asked the older woman.
    “Yes,” she answered and seemed to understand the serious nature of the question, the deeper meaning of his curiosity was the question “are you capable of going in?”
    “And, you, are you going in,” he asked the younger woman.
    She looked frankly and directly at him, “I always go in”, she answered.
    “Good, good,” said Bert.

    They went down to the waters edge and in succession, without hesitation, dove in and swam, laughing and cheering at each other.
    Bert’s first thought was “Those damn mutt’s are going to take over the world while my family languishes at a picnic."
    His second thought was “ These are kindred spirits and I should make their acquaintance.”

    He went back over to the three bathers after they emerged, and while they were toweling off. He spoke to the man because that was his comfort zone.
    “Do you live on this island”, He asked him.
    “Yes we do.” The reply was meant to include his companions, this was the custom of their generation, they did not separate the sexes from each other as much as previous generations had.
    “Do you always live here? “
    “No, no one does, just here in the summer. Now and then, that’s the name of this place”, he gestured towards a rustic cabin at the far end of the beach,” We spend a little time here in the hot weather, like all the rest.”

    And what did he do asked Bert,
    “I am a quantum nano mechanic. I have a small shop in the outskirts of the old city, away from the Wall district. My name is Tom, this is my wife Parker she teaches and is a master of the Arts, and our niece, Bessie is studying at the Art Central.”
    “A quantum nano mechanic?” repeated Bert.
    “Yeah, I make soft machines, you know the cross over organic synthetics for advanced bio-repair.”
    “He built a monkey from scratch,” Bessie said with pride. “One of those assistant, helper monkeys.”
    ” I might need your skills. Could you call my office, ask for Bert Hammerstom tell my secretary that you are from the Eastern Island cove, she will put you through.”
    “Great man, I’ll give you a call when vacation is over,” Tom shook his hand,
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