Summer Days Beside Cannon Rock

 /   /  By Emma Birches
Stone Soup Magazine
July/August 2001

By Katey Storey, Illustrated by Hannah Richman

The ocean, rocks, and cool sea breeze are what awaited me every July at our old summer house in Maine. The living room, dining room and two bedrooms upstairs had the most beautiful view in the whole house. It was of the glistening teal ocean and huge rocks on which one could climb. They were all along the seaside, like a barrier separating the water and land. These midnight, cloudy-day rocks were simply called “the rocks,” and one in particular was shaped like a cannon pointing out to sea; we called it Cannon Rock. It was the largest, and if one were to climb to the top of it, the whole world would seem like it was before her eyes.

As I walked down our worn-off, soft, charcoal-color porch stairs, I passed beach flowers that looked like mini-hibiscuses. I was heading toward the rocks. Waves crashed up against the rocks that sounded like a hard crack of a whip. I climbed on all fours and watched out for the razor-sharp barnacles. They were stuck on like a baby calf clinging to its mother in its early stages. Above me the sun was blazing, and I heard the screeching of seagulls soaring through the clear blue sky. I breathed in the salty sea air, which reminded me of Cape Cod salt-and-vinegar chips, my favorite.

Around and inside the rocks were tidepools and areas to search for the little treasures the ocean brings. The foamy water from the open gap in a rock shampooed my cool bare feet. As I kept exploring the watery world, sudden shimmers caught my eye. Sea glass was sparkling on small moist stones and rocks. The pieces were frosty colors of midnight-sky blue, emerald green, and baby-boy blue. I used to drop them in a jar, making a collection to admire. I searched around more, observing different motionless creatures. I gently picked up a starfish and felt its hard top, like rough sandpaper. It looked like pores on a grapefruit. I scooped up several multicolored periwinkles, and saw a crab scuttle across and hide under a big rock. He was the color of the setting sun. Next, I saw stringy strands of slimy cucumber-colored seaweed. I also glimpsed some other seaweed that looked like the packaging bubble wrap that covers fragile things.

Summer Days Beside Cannon Rock girl picking up starfish

I gently picked up a starfish and felt its hard top, like rough sandpaper

When I was finished examining the various animals, I headed up to the sizzling hot rocks, baked by the afternoon sun. I sat down and peered out onto the horizon; here I could see Stratton Island and Bluff Island. These islands looked like small blots propped up by the water against the sky. Sailboats floated along the skyline, even though it didn’t look like they were moving at all.

I think of the times I spent on the rocks and in Maine. Once we had a family cookout, several times we packed picnics to eat, and one evening we roasted marshmallows against a fire. My dreams at night here were about my different adventures I had, and new things I learned. I think of how I wished to be a marine biologist, because of my love I had for the ocean and the wonders inside of it. I was never afraid to touch some “gooey-gross” seaweed like others would say. I could only admire it, and other things. I remembered a night when I heard two seals barking outside of my bedroom window. They were moving black figures, swimming the dark sea. That was my last night there; it was like they were saying good-bye.

In the movie Peter Pan the mermaid lagoon and the islands reminded me of Maine. So many things did. For example, when I ate plain Pringles chips or Rice Krispies treats. Whenever I held a large seashell up to my ear, the rushing of the waves reminded me of the water slapping against the rocks. Even when I smelled a bit of salty sea air, it just tingled me inside and the memories went through my head.

I had grown attached to our house and rocks on the sea, just like baby calves come to bond with their mother. The time I spent there gave me a chance to view the whole world, just as I could do at the top of Cannon Rock. Memories could be cherished forever from the events that don’t always last.

Summer Days Beside Cannon Rock Katey Storey

Katey Storey, 13 Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts

Summer Days Beside Cannon Rock Hannah Richman

Hannah Richman, 13
Kittanning, Pennsylvania

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