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  • Long Island is the biggest island by far in the Long Island archipelago. This archipelago may not be a true archipelago like the Galapagos in the South Pacific off Ecuador or the Channel Islands off Southern California in the middle Pacific or the San Juan Islands off Washington in the northern Pacific. The status of Long Island as an island has long been in doubt, separated as it is from the rest of New York by the East River. The United States Supreme Court — lawyers, mind you, not coastal geologists or geographers — ruled 9 to 0 that Long Island is not an island but part of New York State’s mainland.
  • Some human domiciles are 1,000 years old or more. Several on Long Island date back to the late 1600s. Most houses, however, have lost their sense of permanence. Fifty years ago, one would never raze a house to build another one unless it was severely storm damaged or ravaged by fire. Nowadays, houses built in the last quarter of the 20th century are falling to new, larger ones right and left. Houses have lost their sense of permanence just as we who live in them have lost our sense of immortality.
  • Montauk, in my eyes, is one of the richest places for natural history in the United States. It has grasslands, forests, savannas, freshwater wetlands, tidal wetlands, ponds both permanent and temporary, hills, kettleholes, glacial erratics, cranberry bogs, dunes, ocean beaches, sound beaches, all matter of marine and freshwater fishes, blue-spotted salamanders, and the only ocean coastal bluffs north of the Caribbean Islands. That venerable Long Islander Teddy Roosevelt traveled the world, and he also visited Montauk. He must have loved it. Walt Whitman loved it. I love it.
  • In August the insects hold sway. It is time for the most bizarre looking insectsof all, the walking stick and the praying mantis. One very rarely sees more than one or two of these, the largest of our creepy-crawlies, in a season.
  • Monday night’s rain, though much less than an inch, was just enough to keep the broad-leaved trees from beginning to turn pale green.
  • The dog days of summer are supposed to wait until mid-August, but decided to come in July this year. Ouch! Having said that, the way the climate has been heating up in this decade, come August, the days could get even doggier.
  • There is a very pretty grove of green-leafed trees with bright red-brown flowers and developing fruit on the west end of Long Beach in Noyac, less than 75 feet from the lapping waters of Noyac Bay. On Monday I examined them and found them to be trees of heaven, Ailanthus altissima. I see scores of trees of this species every time I ride along one of the South Fork’s more populated highways. In places Noyac Road is overrun with them, but most of the flowers are much more green than red.
  • We are well into summer. It’s been warm, almost hot. The worst is yet to come. We’ve had just enough rain to make the oaks, hickories, maples, sassafras, and the rest of our native trees as lush as lush can be. I’ve been giving them all a 10 as I drive past and through them, which is unprecedented, but I may becoming dotty or too sentimental.
  • No two springs or summers are the same. June may continue the string of warmest months since records have been kept. It was also dryer than usual. Do high temperatures and droughts go hand in hand? There used to be a local guru I could call for answer that question, but Long Island’s most longstanding and celebrated weatherman, a farmer and resident of Bridgehampton, Richard Hendrickson, is no longer with us, having passed away earlier in the year.
  • Perhaps during no other time in the history of modern man have so many people from so many countries and territories been on the move to seek new lands in which to live. This is the age of emigration and immigration, born of choice, vocational opportunity, the need to survive, mostly the latter. But it’s not just humans that are on the move. With global warming becoming more and more of a reality, plants and animals of all kinds are extending the ranges, moving from one place to another.