This fishing shack exists on state land in New Jersey. It once belonged to the family of a federal judge who sold the land to the state. It dates from the turn of the century, and such shacks were once a very common sight on the Eastern Seaboard. This is one of the last, and it now rests on a dune, about 200 feet from the ocean.
My friend Bill is its caretaker, and I’ve been helping him with repairs for years now. There’s no heat, toilet, or electricity: we use oil lamps when it gets. I’ve spent the night there a couple times, and the wind can rattle the shack pretty hard in the early winter. Bill said he once feel asleep out in the dunes one night, and he woke up to find a fox dragging him by his trouser leg. Lots of raccoons out in the dunes, too. Fat ones.
Bill can be seen walking towards the sea in this spread, filling in as Whitman. It’s my tribute to a beloved friend.
Allen Crawford is an illustrator, designer, and writer. He and his wife Susan are proprietors of the design/illustration studio Plankton Art Co. Their most notable project to date is the collection of 400 species identification illustrations that are on permanent display at the American Museum of Natural History’s Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. Under his pseudonym, Lord Breaulove Swells Whimsy, he wrote, designed, and illustrated The Affected Provincial’s Companion, Volume One, which was optioned for film by Johnny Depp’s production company, Infinitum Nihil. He lives in Mt. Holly, NJ.
Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819 – March 26, 1892) was an American poet, essayist and journalist. A humanist, he was a part of the transition between transcendentalism and realism, incorporating both views in his works.
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