But then, families being families, maybe having a watercolorist in the bunch wasn't that big a deal to them.
Hodge brought Homer the mussel shells from Maine after her last trip. Someone else put the periwinkle and the fir cone there. She says the mower blows such offerings away but they always reappear. And I'm seeing his Prouts Neck surf exploding in my mind's eye, and knowing he likes those shells and the people who bring them.
So Hodge and I are walking along and she veers over to show me a favorite verse from the Song of Solomon on a large boulder and I gasp and realize that we're looking at the grave of a very well-known American ornithologist, William Brewster.
I didn't have to dig far to find Allen Emmett's brief but excellent profile in the N/D 2007 Harvard Magazine. I'm borrowing heavily from it here, thank you Mr. Emmett!! There, I learned that Brewster's parents deemed him too frail and his eyesight too poor for him to attend Harvard (clearly, standards have changed!) He was an avid birdwatcher and record-keeper at age 10, collecting specimens with a shotgun, which was the only way one studied birds then, binoculars not having come into use. He used his excellent hearing to identify birds without having to see or shoot them, and Emmett quotes him describing the night sky "alive with birds...as may be learned by anyone having keen hearing who will take the trouble to stand for a few hours on some elevated spot and listen intently.”