What you see is not only what you get.
What you see depends on where you sit too.
Your point of view depends on your point of view.
Our new house looks out over Mount Hope Bay, the northeastern arm of Narragansett Bay in Rhode island. Mount Hope Bay is about 7 miles long and 2–3 miles wide and we live on the eastern shore looking west.
We have a fabulous 180 degree panorama looking across the bay to Portsmouth, Bristol and Warren. To our left is the tip of Common Fence Point, the northern peninsula of Aquidneck, the "island" in Rhode island.
Beyond the point and stretching north is the largely undeveloped eastern shore of Bristol, low wooded hills sloping down to the bay. To the south is the waterfront campus of Roger Williams University, then a little further north is Mount Hope Farm, and then opposite us is the rock formation known as King Philip's Seat, a reminder of the violent resistance mounted by the natives of this area when we Europeans first settled here. The trees stretch on to the north towards the mouth of the Kickemuit River and from our house we have a view straight up the river. The view goes on to the right to the beach community and salt marshes of Touisset in Warren.
Frankly you couldn't ask for a better view of a peaceful, mainly natural, mostly undeveloped, beautiful shoreline, especially when you consider that we are in the nation's second most densely populated state. The bay itself is relatively quiet with little boat traffic except for a few fishermen, the occasional day sailor, a small amount of commercial traffic going to and from Fall River, and assorted racing yachts on Wednesday evenings when Tiverton Yacht Club hold their sailing races on the bay. Tillerwoman and I spend many happy hours on our deck taking in the view, watching the boats and the patterns of the waves on the water, listening to the bells on the navigation buoys making their random music in time to the waves... and did I mention, the sunsets are to die for?
I kept telling myself. I must sail Mount Hope Bay one day. On Monday I did.
I haven't worked out yet a practical way to launch directly into the bay so I launched my Laser at the boat ramp in Independence Park in Bristol Harbor and sailed out to the mouth of the harbor, past Hog Island, under Mount Hope Bridge, past the sailing dinghies going in circles off the dock at Roger Williams, around Common Fence Point and across to the beach at the bottom of the hill in front of our house.
I waved to Tillerwoman. She wasn't there. She had taken the opportunity of my sailing excursion to go shopping.
It struck me that, from the water, Mount Hope Bay is nowhere near as picturesque as you would imagine if you had only seen the view from the selective vantage point of our home. The North Tiverton shore (on which we live) is somewhat ugly when seen from the water. To the south the landscape is scarred with a massive condominium development for "active adults"... whatever they are... and next to it massive piles of crushed stones which according to my local gas station attendant are part of some environmental clean-up of the site. Thank god we don't live there. Do those active adults know what was in the ground on which they are activating their adult activities?
Then a mile or two to the north of our house, near the Fall River/ Tiverton border there is an ugly conglomeration of oil or gas tanks. And just to finish off the impression of a semi-industrial landscape, dominating the north end of the bay (and completely invisible from our house) is the New England Power Company's Brayton Point Power Plant in Somerset, Massachusetts, apparently "the largest single source of air pollution in New England".
I sail back to Bristol and return home. Our house sits on land that until five years ago was a farm. I suspect that the only ground pollution on this site is several decades, maybe centuries even, of cow manure. Tillerwoman and I sit on the deck after dinner admiring the view of the bay from our blinkered perch on the hillside. It is still perfect.
As I said. It all depends on your point of view.