Sagaponack community notes, March 11


As far as one can hear, the perimeter is maintained by blackbird song. They are up and down the pond, in my neighbor’s garden, singing from the last fallow house lot. In Sagg, they are welcomed wherever they go by stocked feeders and privacy. Among them I know there are pea eaters, and sometime later this year I will be furious with the thieves, but for now their two-syllable trill quickens the heart in the way of a returning lover.

The subtle influence of early spring is felt and displayed. The nuttiness is rooted in hormones. Two squirrels go running around the tree trunk, spiraling up, spiraling down, in a game that looks like Chase. A pair of rabbits engages in the act that gets them dubbed “mad”: they look like they are on speed and playing leapfrog. The roosters begin to fight. The cat runs from porch railing to railing, clawing and climbing it briefly before sprinting the short distance to the next. She is not domesticated at the moment.

Human behavior changes in the spring too, but because our breeding season runs year round now, our hormonal impulses can be safely melded with material ones. We, unlike the birds and rabbits, aren’t about to begin a marathon of dedicated mothering; we are going to do some landscaping, get some sun, maybe lose a few pounds before anyone sees us in a swimming suit. Spring, for people, does have something to do with being attractive to others, but our antics are not rudimentary; they are subterranean, lofty and often irrational. This is why we refer to someone as having “spring fever,” a quasi-medical condition that could, presumably, be treated if it got too out of hand.

I want to know what kind of illness has overcome the Southampton Town Trustees. I want to know: Is it spring fever or irreversible insanity? They are elected to care for and protect the natural resources; they are the humble bulwark that gives commoners a stake in the most coveted real estate around, the beaches and waterways. When these men campaign, they don’t have slogans like “corporate know-how” and “a fresh face” attached to their names. They have old friends and family, they have “generations” and “trust”—and this is because we commoners deem their position not about running a bureaucracy but about shellfish, duck hunting and roads no one else wants to maintain.

From time to time, I have complained about the sand mining at Sagg Beach. I am not unsympathetic to the reasons they dig, and I too wish they could find a sustainable solution to coastal erosion. But the amount of disruption the Trustees have permitted at Sagg Pond in the name of placating frantic oceanfront homeowners is objectionable, destructive, irrational—and, oh yeah, ugly.

I do not know if discussion about the “dredging” of Sagg Pond is on the agenda, but the Trustees are meeting on Monday, March 15, at 1 p.m., at Southampton Town Hall. I would like to encourage anyone who is concerned about the Trustees or this project to come and have a look for yourself.

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