Home > Language > Sentence of the Week, 4

Sentence of the Week, 4

The winners in my recent Sentence of the Week posts (here, here, and here) have been loser sentences. This latest entry is a true winner. (Can Roger Angell write anything but winners?)

The current issue of The New Yorker has an article by Ian Frazier on the return of seals to New York harbor. I haven’t read it yet. I’d rather wait until our print copy arrives. However, I did read Roger Angell’s reflection on the article yesterday at The New Yorker’s blog. It’s just three paragraphs, which I’m tempted to quote in full, but I’ll stick to the mandated single sentence.

If they proliferate down here, as I expect, commuters on the Staten Island ferry some morning will get close enough to a seal to notice water dripping off his whiskers, and—if he makes his alternative head-last drop-down into deeper water, as against a dive—watch the seal’s nostrils, the final part of him, magically squeeze shut a quarter-second before he’s gone.

One more sentence? Okay, here is Angell a paragraph earlier, commenting on his time on the water during summers in Maine.

Up there, aboard my ancient day-sailer or even while rowing a smaller dinghy or paddling a kayak, I sometimes find myself in sudden close company with a harbor seal: a damp and pleasing, Lab-sized presence who has silently broken the surface fifteen or twenty yards away and now looks me over with unblinking interest.

At top is a photo I took on our 25th anniversary last June as we rode the ferry from Seattle to Bremerton. The seals are just off the southwest corner of Bainbridge Island, where Puget Sound narrows into a channel between the island and the Kitsap Peninsula.

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