Sagaponack Community Notes, May 14


You only need a little water to see how life springs up around it. We proved this over the winter, when, in its bleakest grip, we filled a jelly jar with water and straw, and days later there are animalcule blooms throughout.An incrementally larger version of this takes place midfield. It hasn’t rained in three weeks, and all the tilled acres would be naturally dry were it not for farmers and their irrigation. The attractive field, with its bright lines of just emerged plants, is diminished by the plastic drip tape that kinks along each row. It’s a sure sign of privilege to acknowledge that the necessary thing is not “pretty,” so I apologize. I complain about the irrigation not because it’s ugly but because its presence connotes another’s absence: the rain.

Swallows and robins use a lot of mud in their nest building. It does not take them long to hone in on the drip tape. Emitters are every 8 inches, but the bulk of birds work midfield. They almost appear to be loitering, but, really, because of the efficient way that drip tape administers water to the crop, the mud is not copious and must be looked for. Normally, they would be frequenting puddles, either at fieldside or, as is the case with robins, curbside.

Robins can make do in a residential setting, as lawn sprinkler systems make puddles aplenty. Barn swallows were in existence before barns or farms, but how will they adapt this time? This field, in particular, is the kind that is increasingly rare. It has housing (an old barn nearby) and hunting grounds: the farmland over which the birds swoop, and the pond that lies just west of this acreage. This is significant airspace for the winged carnivore. Will there ever be “accessory structure swallows”?

Still, with all this lack of rain, Sagg stays true to itself. An early mistranslation of the word, “sagapon,” led potato farmers to move here, and, after that, many, many more mistranslations led to Wall Street types moving here with their typical housewives. Luckily, by the time this had happened, there were no farm wives left to envy the femme fatales who replaced them.

What matters is that what “sagapon” really means is “land of heavy fogs.” Until the discrepancy is addressed, land that is usually saturated and surrounded by dense, immovable cloaks of invisibility will continue to be touted for its “views” instead of its “veils.”

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