The Blue Island Log of Herman Gillrnby Brendan GalvinrnSepias of an old winter: a man standingrnfull height under a berg like a grottorndeposited on the beach, behind himrnthe marshes a frieze of no color,rnspiky with terrors, and a northwest windrnyou can almost hear in the photo.rnHe is Herman Gill, keeper of Blue IslandrnLighthouse. After months of winter,rnhe has logged how snowy owlsrnhave drifted down to float criss-cross inrnspook flights before the beam of his great light,rnand how they refuel their yellow eyesrnon the wild offspring of his children’s rabbits.rnAll night his bachelor quarters complainrnaround the stove. One morningrnalong his beach route he came uponrna white owl untying the mysteries of a cod,rnand more fish sealed in a slab of icernnearby, like sequined slippers.rnWatched by snow, he has learned to lookrnabout him for a pair of gold eyes,rnand has minted a weather saw for his logbook:rna white owl in Novemberrnmeans weather you’ll remember.rnThis morning, March 14, he wrote.rnBrushing soot from the cold flue ledge, I touchedrna thing so soft—a finch, I saw by its beak.rnwith feathers now gray as a catbird’srnfrom beating long in the chimneyrnit had entered to get out of the wind.rnIt died in a blind shiver behind the stovernas I wondered was it the same birdrnthat beat on the light’s windows,rngolden in that glare one night, wingsrna transparent yellow, lost, confused,rnthen swept away, the glass readingrntwenty-seven, the windspeed fifty-four—rnso I thought of Cora and the children,rnand our house flaked to a puzzlernby the Doane Brothers and bargedrnto the mainland for reassembly.rnHere there are days so empty of speechrnI believe I could detect the soundrnlight makes as it creaks around towardrnequinox, even hear the poprnof Cora’s daffodil leavesrntaking their explosive stance aboutrnthe imminent flower.rnBut then I open the door to findrnonly wind bushing around the walls,rnand one morning the passingrncrew of the Hannah Rich, waving on deckrnas though reprieved of mortal dut}’,rna joyride of breaking icernthat kept them and left for the horizon.rnDECEMBER 2000/25rnrnrn