Earth Garden VIII: Pine Point Beach, Scarborough, Maine

PinePointrental1994The only house I lived in after age 30 where I didn’t have any garden was a house a block from the ocean in Pine Point, a lovely, perfect part of Scarborough, Maine. When we first moved to Maine in 1994, we rented a house here from January through May while we house-hunted. The yard –maybe 1/10 acre — was not ours, it was pretty much winter most of the time we lived there (and an exceptionally snowy and cold winter it was — I barely caught sight of the yard under the melting snow before we moved away), and I had my hands full adjusting to New England living and looking within a 30-miles-in-all-directions radius (well, except east, of course, though we did look at Peak’s Island quite seriously) for a house to buy before our off-season lease ran out.

woman walking dog, Pine Point Beach, Dec 2011
woman walking dog, Pine Point Beach, Dec 2011

So my adopted garden that winter was the beach, which I walked or snowshoed pretty much every day. I remember a lot of washed-up horseshoe crabs, clam shells larger than my hand (surf clams, quahogs, and others), seagulls that never went south, and dogs being walked on leashes. Every now and then I’d see a large dead fish washed up.

In the 20 years since, I return to this beach when I can, at first about 8 or 10 times per year and now about 4 times annually.

It’s somewhat unusual in Maine for being a wide sandy beach. Most beaches in Maine are either not sandy — they’re just a lot of big rocks tumbled alongside the ocean — or if they are sandy, they’re smaller, shorter, narrower than Pine Point, which is 4 miles long. The beach at Popham Beach State Park in Phippsburg in the Maine midcoast is three miles long and can be fairly wide, but Pine Point in longer and wider, especially when you continue to walk it into Old Orchard Beach, which at this time of the year is still almost deserted (but not in July and August!).

beachoceanskyPinePoint6June2014When I walked along the beach at Pine Point today, it was coincidentally almost low tide, so the beach was beautifully wide.  The temperature was about 70F, partly sunny, just breezy enough. A group of school kids was on the beach right in front of the paid parking lot, but south of that (toward Old Orchard Beach) I saw perhaps 25 people during a one-hour walk, most of them also walking, none swimming this early in the season.

Here’s some of what I encountered (more photos at the Pine Point Facebook Page):

beach pea in bloom & bud ... these line the path down to the beach
beach pea in bloom & bud … these line the path down to the beach
grasses between the beach and houses
grasses between the beach and houses
inside a clam shell
inside a clam shell
some kind of fly all over a crab shell ... a common sight today
some kind of fly all over a crab shell … a common sight today
reddish seaweed?
reddish seaweed?
a worm burrowing into the sand
a worm burrowing into the sand
connected clam shell
connected clam shell
worm design in sand
worm design in sand
sand dollar
sand dollar
green seaweed
green seaweed
piping plover ... There are signs everywhere telling people (and their dogs) to stay away from the nesting sites
piping plover … There are signs everywhere telling people (and their dogs) to stay away from the nesting sites
razor clam shell
razor clam shell
another attached clam shell
another attached clam shell
green bladder wrack
green bladder wrack
a scallion in the seaweed/wrack
a scallion in the seaweed/wrack
scallop or ark shell fragment
scallop or ark shell fragment
white oyster shell and piece of sea flora
white oyster shell and piece of sea flora
seagull feather
seagull feather
seagull, now stepping on remains of its snack
seagull, now stepping on remains of its snack

 

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