Around the Island

Richard’s Almanac: Deer, tortoises and ticks; celebrity sightings at ‘Sunset Beach’

AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO | Sunset  from the Sunset Beach Hotel.
AMBROSE CLANCY PHOTO | Sunset from the Sunset Beach Hotel.

I visited Island artist and senior citizen Janet Culbertson on Sunday morning. Janet was on the artist studio tour last weekend along with several other artists.

Laurie Fanelli suggested I go to take a photo of one of Janet’s new works because of its subject matter.

The painting is quite large — about 6 feet by 9 feet — and has a timely message, according to Janet.

It depicts a deer family made up of a fawn, a doe and a buck. The buck is obviously dead and hanging upside down from a tree branch. The fawn is sadly looking on while the doe stands proudly, sporting a blaze orange, bullet-proof vest.

Janet appears to be a socially involved artist with apparent strong feelings about wildlife preservation and environmental sensitivity.

Another painting called “2084” is disturbing with its apocalyptic message.

Other works show the majesty of some animals.

Her “Galapagos Tortoise” is such a work. It’s large — about 5 feet by 6 feet and captures all the wonder of this ancient creature.

There’s also an ostrich painting that I found moving. The creature’s long neck and goofy head-on look make him (or her) seem to be smiling. Loved it. So Janet does not think that killing deer by sharpshooters is the way to manage ticks. It’s a well known controversial subject and the subject of a recent questionnaire sent out to all Islanders.

Touchy subject.

When I lived upstate, the opening day of deer season saw most of the hunting age male students missing school to go deer hunting with their fathers. It was a family affair.

I remember some 50 years ago on this Island when the deer were almost non-existent. What deer did exist were small — like dogs with antlers. And there was not a deer season for some time.

But there were still ticks!

When I was a kid growing up on Eaton’s Neck near Northport, there was never a deer to be found but there were ticks everywhere in the woods. Now deer are prevalent and hunting was allowed last year to control the ticks.

On another subject, I feel compelled to mention my most recent visit to Louis’, no, Crescent, no, Sunset Beach.

I had three house guests last weekend and in addition to the usual activities that visitors like, they had to get in a visit to “Sunset Beach.”

One was a former student of mine from Virginia who was here two years ago and swears she saw Justin Bieber there. Another friend thought she saw Leonardo De Caprio or “someone who looked like him.” The other guest was from the New York and friends told her she “must” go to “Sunset Beach.”

So here they are hoping to get a glimpse of a celebrity and hang around really cool people.

I drove them down and dropped them off near where the lifeguard is. They were able to get a picnic table and settle down for a day of sunning and people-watching.

They called me about an hour later and said I must get down there. My former student Elizabeth set her beach chair up in a rare empty parking space until I arrived.

What a scene! There were a couple of tenders shuttling visitors back and forth from boats and a seaplane.

Many years ago there was a seaplane area at the end of the beach near where the restrooms are now.

The tender boats have what appear to be gangplanks to walk from the boat to the shore.

There are massages available on the beach. The masseuse brings a table onto the beach for you.

Paddle boards can also be rented for your enjoyment. And all the food and drink you could want is available across the road.

My guests met some celebrities from a reality show and had their pictures taken with them.

After I left and returned to the quiet and calm of my Midway Road place, I found it hard to believe that so much was going on right down the hill.