It’s now spring/summer and the birds have been busy. Exeter citizens enjoy watching the parent ducks on the river training their broods, showing them the best feeding places and how to stay out of trouble.
However, along with the bursts of flowers, spring has brought pollen. The picture shows the hood of my car, left out overnight. By morning it’s coated with pollen, then rains come and wash pollen away. Or the rain doesn’t come and pollen thickly coats the car. No wonder there’s so much sneezing here in the spring!
Exeter has a rather strange town seal. Since the town was never incorporated, the seal states that Exeter was founded in 1638. Sometime during the 1920’s, the town fathers discovered they needed an actual seal in order to issue bonds. So, as a practical New Englander and member of the bond committee, Albert N. Dow promptly designed the seal, the bond committee stamped the bond issues, and that was that.
So, why did Mr. Dow choose a fish for the seal and why the alewife? He decided a fish fit better in the limited space. The alewife, a very bony relative of herring, was abundant in the early days of the town and commonly used for fertilizer or bait. It also had that much prized New Englander quality of stick-to-it-ivness.
This abundance disappeared when town entrepreneurs began building dams on the river to power various manufacturing enterprises. For centuries salmon, bass, and shad had migrated from the Atlantic into freshwater rivers to spawn. With the dams, fish migration slowed and salmon, bass, and shad just about gave up trying. Even various fish ladders didn’t make a an appreciable difference to those fish. However, the stubborn alewife persevered and continued to successfully make their way to spawning grounds, though in lesser numbers. For various reasons, the dams were gradually removed and since 2016 fish are once again populating the Exeter rivers. Fishermen are delighted, and so are all the birds!
On another note, my dad started me enjoying baseball and the Red Sox were my team of choice for many years. Their rivalry with the Yankee’s is legendary and this month I traveled with a busload of Red Sox fans to Yankee Stadium for a Saturday evening game. The building is impressive, the history of the Yankee organization remarkable, and the Red Sox lost another game to the “D” Yankees. Sigh…