DALTON >> I have vertigo, so I don't like being up high. My last few years of driving over the Bourne and Sagamore Bridges made me glad to leave Cape Cod behind because my palms would start sweating in Barnstable in anticipation of the 30-second airborne trip. Now, I take long detours if I know a high bridge is on the route. Just ask my husband about our six-hour trip to Fairhaven, avoiding the Braga Bridge in Fall River!
I do like flying kites. Years ago we had a yellow nylon one emblazoned with red tulips and green stems from Dr. Gravity's Shop in Harwich Port. Letting a kite soar in the breeze over Red River Beach while my feet were firmly planted in the sand was my idea of a wild ride.
I have always enjoyed watching birds fly, especially herring gulls acting like untethered kites above the ocean surf, swooping down occasionally to grab a bite of lunch. For fun, go watch a fishing boat return to port. If it is surrounded by screeching gulls, above, around, and on its rigging, you know the catch was good and the mates have been sorting or fileting on deck.
Now, it's easy to see birds-eye views on-line, and many Realtors are using such from-the-cloud shots to sell homes and building lots. We all know how important location is, and when you can show prospective buyers how close they are to the shore or the golf course, sales increase. What was once done (expensively) by small, fixed wing aircraft or helicopters is now being done by drones.
Lately, I've been watching drone videos of Provincetown on Facebook, where a photographer named Cox does some astonishing work. I am envious of the coastal scenes he captures. For 30 years I took shore pictures, and my only great successes were when Rock Harbor was frozen over and there were huge blocks of sea ice strewn all over the sand. Those were cool photos!
When the price of drones drops to the level of my expendable income, I'd love to get one. My only problem would be flying it.
I never mastered the controller dexterity my sons learned from hours, weeks, and years of video games. I'd be afraid to fly it over water for fear of drowning it (I wonder if I could fit one with a life preserver?).
Then again, I'd have just as much trouble if it got stuck in the top of the pine tree in the backyard. (Could I train a crow to rescue it?)
I think it would be such fun to sit on the patio and have the drone check how many ripe tomatoes are in the garden. I could monitor the antics of the cats in the catmint and it would be perfect for watching the fireworks at the Legion Field without having any nearby trees mar the view of the exploding shapes and colors.
I don't know what the range of a drone is or what the operating rules are, but I predict soon there will be aerial battles all over the countryside. Picture Dalton drones flying into Windsor airspace and landing in a Christmas tree farm like a swarm of crows. Or see the Adams drones defending the tower on Mount Greylock against a North Adams attack. Like the Hitchcock thriller "The Birds," we could be scrambling into our houses to avoid being scarred by a flock of drones.
On second thought, I think I'll just buy a new kite and fly it at the beach. The world and I will be safer.
Anne Horrigan Geary is a regular Eagle contributor.