Wednesday, January 11, 2012

For a limited time only...

This past Saturday, I took advantage of our area's moderate temperatures for January and painted at the snug little harbor of Rye, New Hampshire.  Being an experienced New Englander (and a native of Buffalo, NY), the lack of snow cover and warm temperatures aren't going to last forever.

When the sun's low path crosses the winter sky, a pleasing soft, warm light is available for a longer time to ponder and paint.  In this quiet harbor of a few fishing vessels, I found this special quality of light.  With the arrival of winter's shorten days, strong contrasts of summer's high noon give way to the lengthening shadows across the frozen, dormant ground.

After completing my painting, I ventured further up the coastline looking for another short lived winter event: fresh Maine shrimp (heads and rostrum included) being sold right off the back end of fishermen's pick-up trucks.  With attention driven signs of "One Dollar a Pound" and "Fresh Shrimp", how could I not stop many decades ago when I first arrived along these shores?  Once I tasted these small, sweet delectables, no January can go by without hunting for these road side markets and the purchase of ten pounds or more.

There was an urgency to buy earlier this year because the shrimping season will be a short one due to new federal regulations.  This year only 4.4 million pounds of shrimp can be netted or trapped by the locals, i.e. one third of 2011 catch.

When I arrived home, I gave honor to my winter tradition with a devotional-like carnage:  I spent the next three hours decapitating and remove roe from 16.5 pouinds of shrimp.  What a great way to re-connect with my environment!  For dinner, I greedily savored, with a fork, a sweet sampling piled high on a bed of Iceberg lettuce, covered with fresh squeezed lemon juice, olive oil and Old Bay seasoning.

Let winter begin. 

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