Westport Giant Cricket Stands Guard at Horseneck Beach
I was a freshwater kid growing up. I learned how to swim at Mary's Pond in Rochester and spent many a happy summer day on the pond with my cousins on a rubber inner tube or inflatable raft.
From time to time, when my older cousin Wayne was keeping an eye on us, he would take us to East Beach in New Bedford. Wayne might swim out the raft just offshore, but I would hang on the sand, unsure about the wild ocean – and what lay beneath.
I suspect Wayne and his pals were more interested in the bikini-clad ladies and the souped-up GTOs and Camaros lined up on East Rodney French Boulevard as they were in the ocean back in the day.
Being a freshwater kid, I didn't know much about the ocean, especially Horseneck Beach in Westport. It seemed a world away to me.
While still not much for saltwater swimming, I have begun to enjoy Horseneck more in my later years. Sunset walks along the tarred walkway between the Horseneck Beach State Reservation Campground and the beach itself are a favorite evening pastime during the summer.
While walking the pathway during the "golden hour" before the sunset one July day last year, I spied a giant grasshopper or cricket in a clearing in the seagrass to my right.
During a recent visit to the beach, I inspected the cricket more closely, certain the big bug was part of a former celebration of some kind, left behind to wither in the weather and sea air.
As it turns out, the large cricket is nothing more than concrete and steel remains of a structure knocked down and washed away by a storm many years before. There are many like it in the area, but this one happens to resemble a giant cricket.
Some creative type with an eye for art – and bugs – added a few splashes of paint, and lo and behold, the cricket was born.