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  • When I dropped out of Cornell University for the second time in 1957 I was about to be drafted. We were not at war then, having settled the Korean police action some four years earlier, but, nevertheless, I didn’t think I was cut out for the infantry so I enlisted. I wanted to go into intelligence so I took my chances on getting into the United States Army Language School in Monterey, Calif. I landed a slot — the last available — in Russian. I thought I would be sent to Europe at the end of the course, but instead I boarded a troop ship in San Francisco, sailed out under the Golden Gate Bridge, and headed for Japan.
  • I frequently ask myself why there are so many artists plying their trade on the East End of Long Island. Yes, it’s close to the museums and major galleries in New York, but I think the main reason they are here is the setting. In other words they find the pastoral spaces, ocean and bays, bluffs and woodlands both provocative and attractive. And others I have queried said this area’s most important attribute is its ambient light.
  • Every once in a while a bird shows up that takes the South Fork by storm. In the past, it’s been eagles, snowy owls, pelicans, Lapland longspurs, Ross’s gulls, puffins, painted buntings, and scissor-tail flycatchers, to name but a few. Birdwatchers come from all over the United States, even from as far west as California, to see some of those rare birds.
  • We are solidly into winter. My yard is covered with 11 inches of snow thanks to the back-to-back snowstorms of last week. Noyac Bay, 100 feet to the north, is beginning to freeze over, and it will, there being not a wisp of a breeze for several hours now.
  • The New Year is upon us. It may have been the warmest since weathermen and weatherwomen have been keeping records. New Year’s Eve was the day of the Orient bird count. As per usual, my group did East Hampton’s Northwest Woods, from Cedar Point Park to Barcelona Neck. It was partly overcast and a bit windy. There was a very thin layer of ice on rain puddles and pond surfaces here and there, but none of the tidal waters were frozen.
  • This the last weekly column of the year 2016, and I decided to write a little bit about my peculiar daily data-taking habits, which may come to an end one day soon. After Saturday I will begin saving a few trees and a little time.
  • You may remember the R & B group Earth, Wind, and Fire. The name contains two of the classic Greek primary elements, but leaves out the third, water. In fact in googling pop music groups over the past 60 years, I can’t find any containing the word water. Yet, the more we know the more we learn — and most often after the fact — how important water is to the Earth and life. Some of the 10 to 20 million species recorded thus far in the world can survive without air; none can survive without water.
  • Napeague was once famous for its bunker factory, the Smith Meal Company. Local fishermen purse-seined up menhaden by the ton and unloaded them at that menhaden reduction plant where they were turned into fishmeal.
  • Hook Pond has a hook in it, from top to bottom, from east to west. It could have just as easily been called boot pond or sock pond, but its shape is more like a leaning S. The name Hook Pond is at least 176 years old because that’s how it appears on a United States Coastal Survey map of 1838 showing most of East Hampton Village.
  • In the last 10 years, bald eagles have become regulars on Long Island. At least four different pairs have built and tended four different nests and raised four sets of eaglets annually.