Memories of My Visit
It’s Sunday, sunny with a chill wind. The only way I can be comfortable sitting outside is to find a sheltered spot in direct sunlight. Nearby a hefty grey squirrel seems to be thinking the same thing. He munches on his pine cone aware that I am here but apparently unafraid, as we share this pool of sunshine. He knows he can run faster than I, escape, if need be.
Sitting on a wooden storage box on the front porch, I'm looking across the street at a modern, creamy yellow house. It appears to have been built to mimic the stateliness of this home. The new house doesn’t work and looks oddly out-of-place in this older neighbourhood of
Port Washington. There is something solid, comforting, time worn about this 1896 house that nothing newer can duplicate.
The cement porch hugs two sides of this massive home, providing shelter and welcome; for me, a secluded place in which to write. The grey squirrel runs off after finishing his cone, to find another or to chase the chipmunk that chatters and scolds in the side yard. A scent of pine balsam carries on the mounting breeze.
The Port Washington area of
Long Island, New York is farther south than where I live in . Consequently here, the vegetation is still lush and green belying the cooler breezes and chillier nights that approach and have already touched our trees at home with sizzling colours. New Brunswick, Canada
My hooded sweatshirt isn’t cutting the cold from the stiffening wind so I will have to move soon. The wind blows through me, picking and tossing stray leaves, shed from the tender shrubbery. I need to shift to a warmer seat, seek somewhere more protected than this wooden box on the porch.
This early Sunday morning is peaceful, quiet, except for the rising wind rustling through the five-story maples that surround this house, breathing through the pines with sighs like waves on sand. At first totally embraced by sun, now only my legs are warm. I can feel heat on my jeans, warmth on my shoes. But the wind carries thoughts of ice and my sunlit pool is shrinking.
A thin woman, in a tiny black tank top and matching spandex shorts, jogs by the front of the house; her dog is the same crinkly blond colour as her hair. The pat, pat of her sneakers keeps time with the clack, clack of her dog’s toenails on the pavement. I shiver as I watch her.
Yes, running is one way to keep warm. But I want to write, so I am up now, searching for another sheltered spot of autumn sunlight, in which to further enjoy the last of summer, in this magical old house.