… And We’re Back

And now we return to your regularly scheduled programming. 

I know there are readers of this column who have been fortunate enough to visit Africa and go on safari, some so fortunate as to have gone more than once. Having never been there myself, I had no idea, beyond some vague cinematic memories (“Out of Africa”, “The African Queen” and an array of vine-swinging Tarzans for starters) of what to expect. And no amount of reading—including histories by Alan Moorehead and even the lyrical prose of Peter Matthiessen—could possibly prepare one for the first-person up-close experience of four national parks in Uganda.

Volcanos, left to right, Muhavura, Gahinga, and Sabinyo in the Albertine Rift Valley in Uganda. —A. Botsford Photo

Without delving too deeply into it—this is At Quaquanantuck after all, and not At Kidepo … or At Semliki … or At Nkuringo—let me say that one overriding impression, beyond the superabundance of life, from the minuscule to the magnificent, teeming in every square inch, is the sense of vastness.

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda. —A. Botsford Photo

Even in just one of the four parks I visited in this small country (about the same size as the state of Oregon), the savanna stretches out as far as the eye can see, an expanse so large it manages to make even the sky look bigger there. And tracking gorillas in the deep valleys and on the steep mountainsides of the aptly named Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, one can’t help but be struck by how small and insignificant we all too often self-important human beings are in the scheme of things.

Luckily for me, seasoned Africa traveler Missy Lynch advised me to bring any spare baseball caps I might have along to hand out to extremely appreciative guides and drivers who were particularly helpful. As a result, a talented driver named Abdullah, who drove us up and back down a tortuous, unpaved, uneven, radically steep mountain road—with no guardrails—now has in his possession one of my old 27East.com hats. I told him to visit the website sometime so he could see what goes on in the place where I live. I can only imagine what his reaction might be to just one real estate ad. The mind reels.

Zebras on the savanna in Kidepo National Park in Uganda. —A. Botsford Photo

Before the break, At Quaquanantuck was examining our contemporary dependence on artificial intelligence and technology, and seeking comments and opinions from readers on this subject. Happily, a few readers have written in during my absence. However, having just returned from a land where, although more and more people, unaccountably, have cell phones, these issues have practically no relevance nor any bearing on the lives of residents, I think it best for At Quaquanantuck to reacclimate for at least a week before diving back into this discussion. Stay tuned. 

Library Screening “Chocolat” on February 13 at Firehouse
As a warmup for Valentine’s Day, the Quogue Library will be screening the “Chocolat” (2000), starring Juliette Binoche, Alfred Molina and Johnny Depp tonight, Thursday, February 13, at 6:30 p.m. at the Firehouse on Jessup Avenue. Chocolat

When mysterious Vianne and her child arrive in a tranquil French town in the winter of 1959, no one anticipates the impact that she and her spirited daughter will have on a community stubbornly rooted in tradition. 

Writing for the Chicago Tribune, Michael Wilmington described the film as “tantalizing, delectable and randy, a movie of melting eroticism and toothsome humor.”  

Complimentary popcorn and pretzels will be served. To register for the free screening, call the library at 631-653-4224. 

Light the Night Trail Walks for Valentines at Refuge
The Quogue Wildlife Refuge is offering R rated Light the Night Valentine Trail Walks for adults only on Friday, February 14, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. 

Billed as a “magical evening walk” for Valentines, this fifth year of the program presents self-guided, peaceful strolls  through the gently lit forest trails. After or before the walk, strollers are invited to warm up in the Nature Center near the fireplace with hot cocoa and cookies. The cost is $10 per person; check in is inside the Nature Center.

Reservations are preferred (www.quoguewildliferefuge.org, 631-653-4771) but walk-ins will be welcome. 

“Leash Manners” Dog Training for Families on Saturday, February 15
The Quogue Library is sponsoring another installment in the family dog training series with Rolissa Nash of the K-9 Academy. On Saturday, February 15, at 11 a.m. at the Firehouse on Jessup Avenue, Rolissa, a highly qualified dog trainer, will bring her dog training expertise and will be supported by her own dogs for demonstration. 

Rolissa will focus on  “Leash Manners” this Saturday, February 15; on March 21 she’ll be demonstrating “Extended Sits and Stays.” All are asked to bring questions and concerns, but please leave pets at home: dogs are not allowed to attend  this program. For more information or to register, call the library at 631-653-4224.

Efforts continue to shore up the dunes. —Geoff Judge Photos

Winter Wildlife Camp Returns to Refuge for Schools’ February Recess
There’s still time to sign up children for the Winter Wildlife Camp at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge offered during the upcoming February school recess.  

This popular camp program, running from Tuesday through Friday, February 18 to 21 with sessions of different duration offered, is for kids age 5 to 11. The morning session starts at 9 a.m. and ends at noon; the full-day session also starts at 9 a.m. and runs until 3 p.m. each day. 

Both sessions of the camp’s “amazing experience” provide three hours of immersion in wildlife, education and an abundance of “fun.” 

A hike and a craft will be offered each day, so parents are asked to dress the young outdoorspersons for the weather. In addition, all campers should bring an individual snack and drink each day, plus lunch for those who are signed up for the 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. extended session. 

In addition to other activities, children will be able to feed and handle some of the animals that live in the Nature Center. 

The morning session fee is $45 per day, or $150 for the four-day program. The extended session fee is $90 per day or $330 for the four-day program. Registration and payment are required in advance. Registration and payment are required in advance; for more information, visit www.quoguewildliferefuge.org or call 631-653-4771. 

Earth Yoga at Wildlife Refuge Continues on Wednesdays
Readers are invited to connect yoga instructor Amy Hess, with the Earth, and with their own mind, body, and spirit during one-hour yoga classes in the Main Room of the Nature Center at the Quogue Wildlife Refuge on Wednesdays at 9 a.m. 

This is another of Amy’s gentle yoga programs for all fitness levels, with a cost of $15 per class. Pre-registration is recommended, but walk-ins are welcome. Call 631-653-4771 to register.

International Dinner at Inn Spot Features Chocolate Menu
Readers who are accustomed to exploring the cuisine of a different country every week at the Inn Spot on the Bay in Hampton Bays are in for a treat this weekend. On Friday, February 14, and Saturday, February 15, Cheffes Collette and Pam will offer a menu featuring dishes built around and with chocolate. 

The cost is $39 for the three-course prix fixe; there will be seatings from 5 p.m. on Friday, February 14, and Saturday, February 15. The Inn Spot On The Bay is just north of the Ponquogue Bridge in Hampton Bays. Call 631-728-1200 for more information or to make a reservation, or visit  www.theinnspot.com/internationaldiningseries to see the complete menu. 

Your Comments Welcome
At Quaquanantuck is happy to provide a forum for civil discussion of village issues and initiatives and welcomes all comments. All are encouraged to share observations, ideas and opinions by writing to AtQuaq@gmail.com.  

At Quaquanantuck encourages readers to send in news and notes and photos of interest to Quogue residents, even if the items are being sent from winter addresses or other parts of the country—or the world. Friends and family who enjoy all things Quogue are encouraged to email AtQuaq@gmail.com and ask to be put on the mailing list.

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