Now, it is lace

Thu, 09/03/2020 - 5:00pm

The day did not begin well. This morning, I closed the door behind me, leaving Autumn, my drizzle damp dog, in the house and looked over through the misty rain to see the windows of my car wide open. “That’s impossible” I thought, remembering looking at the forecast the night before and thinking there was no need to check, I always close my car windows.

It is the curse of these darn designs, these aerodynamic curves that let even the straightest summer rain fall onto fabric seats that makes me more careful. I remembered, only when confronted with the fact of my lapse, that I had left the windows open yesterday afternoon thinking I would be going out again, later, a plan which came to naught and left me with a soggy car seat.

At least there was a towel in the car, left first for Autumn’s rare rides and then because one never knows when a towel may be needed. But, unlike the last time this happened, the day did not turn to warm, drying sunshine, and with an iffy forecast the windows are closed for the night.

I think there is a second towel in the back.

The wind blew from the east, again, as it has off and on the whole of the summer, contrary to early expectations of the shore building southwest breeze that pulls sand out of the dunes, a big, wide blanket covering the rocky bones of the beach, stretching it out into the water, one long, sloping plain.

Just another in a long string of this year’s insistence that if it can go wrong it will. The one time summer needed every extra bit of beach nature could provide, the expected rebuilding was sporadic, at best.

Today, I stood at the monument, watching the water, seeing the soft breathing of that under-the-surface beast that betrays the silken pretense of serenity. There was a ground swell, one that had drawn a hopeful surfer to paddle out with his board and wait for that elusive wave.

The rain had abated but a fog bank had settled over the north end of the island — probably from that direction it seemed the opposite, the old I’m-not-foggy-you’re-foggy unless you are on the bluffs where it can be pea soup while the sun shines in town. The beach was east wind and high tide narrow, the thin strip of tan sand below the monument covered by each incoming wave, never dry long enough to lose that shiny mirrored look. The leaves of the dusty miller, the soft gray-green plant that has returned to the little dune-berm, were newly washed, bright and pale and steadfast in the overcast light.

The day had been drizzly to overcast with a second or two of sunshine trying to push through the clouds only to retreat. It had been dreary but not sodden, overall a day of surprisingly good energy in town, of many folks just wandering and stopping to talk. This weather makes for an unhappy Monday but by Wednesday it feels a change is, if not welcomed, perfectly acceptable.

It was a day of young parents from all over the spectrum, some wanting to have their children back with others their own age, some still cautious and opting for continued distance learning, some hoping by the time their tiny one is old enough to be enrolled this dreadful period in time will be ancient history, a story to be told.

Everything feels calmer, be it the September cool that came earlier in the week, the expectation of a lull before Labor Day being realized, a trace of normalcy in this upside down summer, the ever more sobering news of August finally making an impact, or a combination of all of the above and more.

It wasn’t quite six when I got home but the air was cool from the damp. More and more I notice the sky when I look at the big maple at the corner of the yard, when I come home, when I go out the door to leave, or just go outside. It is among the last of the trees to come to full foliage, all lush and solid and deeply green; now it is lace.

Its leaves begin to fall with the first round of real wind in July, or maybe even late June. When following breezes decide to behave seasonally and blow from the southwest they push the fallen leaves against the house and some fly in the open windows and lie on the floor, drying, until I scoop them up, with the summer trappings of my life, dog hair and country road dust.