Posted tagged ‘cooler day’

You can live for years next door to a big pine tree, honored to have so venerable a neighbor, even when it sheds needles all over your flowers or wakes you, dropping big cones onto your deck at still of night.

May 29, 2016

I woke up early for me, tried to go back to sleep, couldn’t so I gave up and headed downstairs. I started the coffee then went outside for a bit. The day is much cooler than yesterday but no less lovely. The sun is summer bright, a squint your eyes to the light bright. The birds are in and out of the feeder. While I was there, I decided to water the plants on the deck. I noticed the nozzle was leaking and tried to fix it. I never checked in which direction the nozzle was facing so I was taken aback when the water hit me full force on the legs. My pants were soaked, and I felt silly.

My phone and my wifi wouldn’t work this morning. The TV did which seemed strange as I thought all three were connected, but then I remembered the TV has its own box. I noticed my modem, which is the phone and computer connector, didn’t have enough lit buttons so I tried to reset it. I couldn’t find anything thin enough for the hole. Finally I used a twisted paperclip. It didn’t work. I tried it again, and it actually worked the second time.

If things come in threes, I’m in trouble.

Nothing is on my dance card for today; in fact, I have only a doctor’s appointment later in the week. I don’t mind unscheduled days. I figure I can find something to keep me busy, and the day is open should an invitation come my way.

My car has disappeared; instead, a pile of pollen is parked in front of my house. It has the shape of a car but no distinct features. The horrible part of all of that is the pollen has just started. I think I need to wear one of those white face masks.

“By all these lovely tokens September days are here, With summer’s best of weather And autumn’s best of cheer.”

September 4, 2015

The morning has been a strange one. Gracie’s constant swallowing woke me up at 6. Figuring she wasn’t feeling great we went downstairs and she went outside-right to the grass and did a bit of mowing. When she came back, I read the papers and had coffee, but at about 9 I decided I needed to go back to bed. I did and was awakened at 11 by the same sound as earlier. Gracie went right out to the grass and munched. Meanwhile, the up and down the stairs gave me the opportunity to find a treasure trove: Maddie had been sick twice. Last night it was Fern on the bedspread. I’d call that a hat trick and wonder how long until it’s my turn. My pets drive me crazy sometimes.

The day is much cooler than it has been, and the breeze is much stronger. I went out on the deck at six and was surprised how cool it was. According to the paper it should be 60˚ tonight and in the high 50’s tomorrow night. The sun has not deigned to appear today. I don’t mind. We’ve had plenty of sun. A little rain would be nice.

This is it: the big weekend, the Labor Day weekend, but it isn’t like the old days when most places closed for the winter. On Sunday you’d drive down Route 28 at night and see everything was lit up: all the restaurants, motels and tourist gift shops. On Tuesday night it was like a ghost town. The lights had been turned off and everything was closed. During the summer, Main Street in Hyannis was one way. On the Tuesday after Labor Day it went back to a two-way street. Most movie theaters were closed. From Hyannis to Chatham only 4 were open, one in each of the four towns. The traffic disappeared as if by magic. I remember driving to the cape in the dead of winter at around midnight. From Plymouth on I saw one other car.

Columbus Day weekend is now the end of summer and right after that the seasonal shops, restaurants and motels will close until next year. The busses will disappear. The problem, though, is there will still be traffic, still be people in all the stores. The difference is they live here now.

“But what minutes! Count them by sensation, and not by calendars, and each moment is a day.”

August 20, 2015

We have rejoined the world. The doors and windows are open to the breeze. The stale air is disappearing. It is still hot but not unbearably hot. Here in the dark den all three animals are sleeping near me, each in her special spot. The breeze is coming mostly from the north, from the window behind me. Pleasant best describes the morning. I usually shy away from using generic adjectives. I was, after all, an English teacher, but I think pleasant conjures all the best of today: the sun, the clean, dry air and most of all the breeze.

When I was a kid, I had little concept of time other than a few minutes, an hour and maybe as far away as tomorrow. “Are we there yet?” drove my father and every father crazy, but it was because we had been in the car for what seemed like hours or even days so we figured we had to be there no matter how far away there was. We had countdowns to birthdays and the best of all days, Christmas, but the whole concept was a little blurry. Three weeks until Christmas really didn’t mean a whole lot to us. Even the number of days in three weeks didn’t help. We understood two days or maybe three days, but we never really caught on until the big day was close, like a day away. When you’re six, every day is endless.

Time in Ghana was frustrating at first. Six o’clock meant six o’clock to us but not to a Ghanaian to whom six o’clock meant whenever. If I invited someone to my house, I was always asked if I meant African or European time. I had been raised to be punctual, a courteous sign of respect, so it took me a while to unlearn European time. I learned to be patient and to wait. People would come in their own time. Lorries would leave when they were full. Stores would open when the owners got there. Dresses would be finished when the seamstress got around to finishing them.

I had to be on time for my classes and to take the government bus, but that was it. I came to like Ghanaian time. I was never late to anything. Things got done whenever. Life was slow and easy. I didn’t even wear a watch, still don’t.

“Strange, what brings these past things so vividly back to us, sometimes!”

May 13, 2014

The warm weather is gone and the 50’s have replaced it. The sun was shining but has since disappeared. It’s a stay home sort of day. I have mail from when I was gone to go through and a few dvr’d television programs to watch. I’ll just stretch out on the couch with my phone handy and enjoy a quiet day. I still ache and yelp when I stand up, but my knees do seem a bit better.

I have some singular memories of certain days and events.

The town plowed the field, filled in the swamp and took down the trees where we had spent so much of our childhood. They build elderly apartments. My father always called it wrinkle city. I remember a lady whose robe had caught on fire. When they brought her out, she had no hair. I can still see that. I don’t remember her looking burned, just bald. When I was in the seventh grade, they found I had a heart murmur. My dad took me for a ride and told me about it. He explained I would be tested to make sure everything was okay. I remember how gentle he sounded. My dad was the disciplinarian and a screamer so this gentleness scared me a bit. Later, though, all was well. I remember the drive to Logan the day I left for Peace Corps staging. I sat in the back and said little as did my parents. I don’t remember saying good-bye at the gate, but I do remember trying to settle all my carry-on at my seat. The man beside me wanted to know if I was running away from home. I told him I was going in the Peace Corps, and he bought me drinks. Not long after I bought my house, my car started to smoke on the way home from buying groceries. I remember crying because I had no money to fix it. All of my money had gone into the house, insurance and passing papers. What would I do without a car? Well, it was only a hose and water hitting the hot engine, but I still remember how distraught I was. I even remember exactly the car was when the engine started to smoke.

My memory drawers are filled, and I love to sift through them hoping for a surprise, something I had forgotten but now remember. These other memories, these singular memories, stay etched by themselves in a separate drawer. They, in some way, changed me. I don’t forget them for that.

“Each day has a color, a smell.”

September 12, 2013

Yesterday was summer with all its heat and humidity. We were cooler than most places, but that didn’t matter. I still took refuge in the house and the air-conditioning. This morning is cool and today will be hot but not like yesterday. I can already feel the difference in the humidity. The windows are open and the half-deflated Happy Birthday balloon from last month’s festivities is slightly swaying in the  breeze. Gracie is taking advantage of the open door and staying outside.

On the back of the door going down the cellar is my spice rack. When I open the door, I am assailed with the best smells, smells which give me pause. Curry seems to be the strongest, but there is also another smell, a combination of all the herbs and spices in the rack, a smell which makes me think of Marrakech and the spice market.

Years ago I went to Santa Fe, once with my sisters then again with my mother. I saw chimineas on that first trip and especially loved the clay ones with the primitive designs. My mother surprised me the next Christmas as she had bought me one. That was before anyone knew what they were, before they became a backyard standard. I use to sit on the deck and burn the piñon wood I had bought on-line. It had the sweetest smell.

My garden has a variety of herbs. Window boxes sit on the deck rail, and I have also herbs growing in each of them. Rosemary fills one box. I love rubbing my hand up the stalk of rosemary then smelling the herb on my hand. When I cook with the rosemary, the kitchen fills with its scent.

The smell of a summer rain has been a favorite of mine since I was a kid. The smell of the rain comes before the storm, but once the rain begins, the smell is of wet earth and wet pavement. They have a singular smell, not sweet, maybe even a bit pungent, but they give the summer storm a bit of character, a depth the winter rainstorm never has.


I have my favorite Ghanaian smells-wood charcoal burning being the best one of all.

Fall is coming quickly and it will usher in the smells of the seasons, of Thanksgiving and Christmas. Those smells conjure memories of childhood and of my mother’s kitchen. They are really the best of any smells.

“A family is a unit composed not only of children but of men, women, an occasional animal, and the common cold.”

July 21, 2013

A cooler day with no sun but lots of humidity is today’s weather. I turned off my air and opened all the windows and doors. The house needed the fresh air after being closed up the whole week. It. looks like it rained for a few minutes earlier this morning. I was expecting thunder showers and am disappointment by the rain’s poor showing. Gracie and I are going to the dump today.

Yesterday I bought some vegetables at a couple of farmer’s markets. I also bought some balsamic vinegar, olive oil and corn chowder base. It was in the early morning, but the heat became too much too quickly so I hurried home to the cool house where I did two loads of laundry. Last night I had dinner at my friends’ and neighbors’ house and got home around ten. It was by far my longest and most productive day in over a month. Today I’m pretty much done in. I see the dump, a shower and a nap in my future.

I remember when I was twelve I had a white visor I wore all the time. It was like a girl’s version of a baseball cap. I have a few pictures of our family vacation that year, and in every picture I’m wearing the visor. In one picture I am leaning against a tree and have a hand in my pocket and one leg bend at the knee resting on the tree trunk. The white visor is, of course, on my head. It was obviously posed, but in it I see the first glimmers of a teenage me. I think it was the pose I chose and the look on my face. I wasn’t a little girl any more, and I knew it, white visor and all.

When I’d meet relatives I hadn’t seen in a long while, usually my parents’ aunts and uncles, each identified me as George’s oldest or Chickie’s oldest (the name my mother was known as since she was a little kid). I don’t think any of them ever knew my name. They identified me by the parent to whom they were related and my birth order. Just after I got out college for the summer, the one before my senior year, a car stopped by the house. In it were Aunty Madeleine and Aunty Clara, two of my mother’s aunts, my grandmother’s sisters. They asked for my mother. I explained she and my father had gone away for the weekend. They stayed in the car, and we conversed through the window. Aunty Clara right away wanted to know who was taking care of us. I told her I was. She was shocked and couldn’t imagine my parents had left us alone. I told her I was nearly twenty-one and quite old enough to babysit for a weekend. She didn’t say anything, just frowned. Aunt Madeleine said good-bye, and they drove away. I don’t think they even knew who I was. No one asked if I were Chickie’s oldest.

“The only escape from the miseries of life are music and cats…”

July 8, 2013

I have turned off the AC and opened the doors and windows. The morning is cooler than it has been for days, and there is a slight breeze. Gracie is in heaven. She gets to go out and come in as much as she wants as her dog door is accessible. The temperature is still in the 80’s, but I decided to brave the heat for some fresh air. The forecast is for thunder showers tonight which will be welcomed after all these steamy days with no rain. If the weekly forecast is correct, it will be in the high 70’s by Friday.

Yesterday afternoon the backup was 25 miles long to get off cape over the Sagamore bridge. I can’t imagine how long it took to go those 25 miles, and I can’t imagine sitting in a car going inches at a time. I’d have been crazed.

The open windows have brought the world back. I can hear the sounds of mowers and trimmers but even better I can hear the songs of birds. Yesterday I watered the plants on the deck and filled all the feeders. Even the two suet feeders were empty. Today I’ll sit on the deck for a bit and read. I haven’t had the inclination to read in a while. Usually I read a book or more a week, but since the surgery, for whatever reason, I haven’t be able to focus for too long. Maybe a new book will kick-start my reading.

In the mornings, Maddie is my only companion. She sits on the couch beside me. When I got Fern and Maddie from the shelter, they were both five and had grown up together. Fern right away took to the house and to Maggie, my dog. Maddie, on the other hand, spend at least three weeks under the bed. Part of it was the new house and part of it was Maggie who chased her, not with any malice or intention to do harm but for the fun of it. I used to lie on my stomach and give Maddie treats under the bed and talk to her. She came out but stayed in the guest room on one of the beds. I put a gate up so Maggie wouldn’t bother her and added a hole in the gate so Maddie could go to the food and litter. It took a while but she came downstairs and chose the dining room table as her safety spot. Gracie came only a few months after Maggie died, and she chased poor Maddie. It was puppy fun for Gracie. Poor Maddie ran for her life, but she didn’t hide. She stayed on that table. Now Maddie will even sit on the couch where Gracie is sleeping. She heads butts me for pats. During the day she sleeps on my bed and during the night she sleeps on the rug in my room. She won’t go so far as to join Fern, Gracie and me on the bed, but she stays close. Miss Maddie is a sweet, lovable cat. It’s nice to have her around. Now if she and Fern would stop hissing at one another, this would be a happy home.