Notes from the Island
August 2003


Our new utility poles have been installed. The cedar pole we had since 1936 has been replaced by a taller fiberglass one. The power cable is now a comfortable twenty feet or so above the river surface. The crew from Pepco, a hard working bunch of good guys, impressed me. And we have good news from the naturalist: The geese have decided to go somewhere else this month and the lack of droppings on the dock is a welcome change. The dragonflies are everywhere. They are so pretty and there are so many different types. You can see the aquatic exoskeletons of their past lives discarded on the docks. I saw a very large moth earlier this month; its known as the polyphemus moth and it was bigger than my hand! The eyespots on its back wings give it its name; Polyphemus was a one-eyed giant from Greek myths.

It's hard for me to believe that I've lived on Sycamore Island for a year already. That's right, by the time you read this it will have been a year since I brought my eight ferry loads of stuff out to this little spit of land in the middle of the Potomac river and started calling it home. In retrospect that this has been the most incredible year of my life. It's true; we did feel somewhat isolated when the river was so high but thankfully the river was kind to us during our first year and never reached flood stage once. Yes, it has been a great year. The kids have adjusted to their new life and seem to be doing well, and I have been able to complete three courses in natural history, ecology, geology, and evolution. I've enjoyed living closer to the natural world and I feel myself adjusting to the slower pace of life down here. I also feel proud of all the projects I've been able to complete and I feel that all the new friends I've made on the island have enriched my life.

-- Joe Hage, Sycamore Island Caretaker