Sippican Cottage

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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything

Spring Is (Still) Just A Distant Memory

[Editor’s Note: First offered two years ago.]
{Author’s note: I should make the editor paint the house.}

The end of July is Summer in New England. There’s no bones about it. The air is heavy with moisture, the heat more like a sauna than an open oven door. The plants get crazy, pushing and shoving in the beds, reaching out to grab at you when you go by. At night, the bugs on the screens blot out the moon.

The ocean is at the foot of the street, mere miles away; and when the breeze tacks, you can catch a whiff of the salt in it. No siren can compose a more alluring sales pitch. It’s delightful to be on the water in July, and there’s always the breeze you need to banish the motor. The sun is like a velvet hammer.

I’m a late summer man. I’m not old, but I’m not young. There’s as much wake behind the boat as horizon in front of it. I don’t mind, really. Consider my house.

That’s it there, in the picture, this spring. When I was younger, I dreamed of this house, and having the family in it. I had no idea how to get it. I wandered the earth, and had many adventures. And eventually, I figured things out, and did an end around, and made the thing happen. I am happy here.

According to the cult of the adolescent, to which we are all expected to pay obeisance unto death, it’s the “wanting” phase of my life I’m supposed to prolong as long as I can manage it. I’m supposed to pretend there is no finish line, and simply ask the starter to raise the pistol over and over again, so I can know the thrill of beginning, forever. I demur.

Life is a career, and then it is over. I do not wish to be an entry level employee until the day I am fired, as it were.

That picture is supposed to encapsulate all that I am supposed to abhor about owning a home. It is no longer new. It requires attention, and effort, to keep it standing and presentable. I’m supposed to want a new one by now, or have covered it with plastic to avoid paying any attention to it. But why would I not want to pay attention to it? It holds everything I’ve ever really wanted. I run my hands over it like a lover, because that’s what I am.

It needs painting. I don’t mind, because I don’t want to go back to the starting line just to hear the pistol.

3 Responses

  1. This strikes me as both true and beautiful, as soon as I read it – yet before I read it, I could not have articulated it.

    What form is this writing? (Yes, ‘who cares’ I know, but anyway…)

    The nearest are journals, such as Thoreau’s (whose journals were the polished product of several drafts). Certainly more like Thoreau (based on concrete incident and experience – drawing out the general) than Emerson (abstract, general from the start).

    But the narrative fragments and dialogues?… hmmm, that doesn’t fit.

    Is it a coincidence that SC writes from New England? I don’t think so.

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