October 8: Quoin, adze, mortise and tenon. Fine Scrabble words all. Today, though, they comprised a tidy lesson in barn building, the 19th century “double-level bank” kind, stone-walled, white-washed and awesome. My friend Lee and I stumbled upon it quite by accident and marveled at the barn’s beauty and ingenuity. I love Nature’s fields and woods and oceans. And I love the incidental beauty scattered across the world by us humans.
October 9: I sneaked a bite of the chocolate cake I’d brought home yesterday for Kevin. After savoring that magnificent barn, my friend Lee and I popped in for lunch at the house of our friends Steve and Lisa. We had expected jolly conversation and a light salad. Instead, the day sparkled with extraordinary hospitality of the most inventive (and delicious) kind. Striped and colorful, the Cobb salad resembled a stand of world flags. The shimmering flutes of apple cider mimosas bubbled under a rim of cinnamon sugar. And oh, that cake, snuggled next to coconut ice cream. Our three-hour visit awed us again with incidental beauty, this time constructed with the tools of caring and kindness.
October 10: Perhaps it was the fog settling heavily over the Sound. Or the private deck and waiting Adirondack chairs. Perhaps it was simply the paisley-swirled bedspreads on the cozy bunk beds. Whatever the reason, I chose the “girls” room — and the top bunk. I made up the bed so that I could awaken with a water view. Yes, of course I’ll spend joyful hours with my friends. And I’ll spend a few joyful hours in my snuggery too.
October 11: This week, I appear to be collecting history and hospitality like four-leaf clovers. My friend Kathy welcomed our friend Cindy and me to her house at the Outer Banks in North Carolina. With gray and drizzle dampening our first day, the new Currituck Maritime Museum beckoned. Small but mighty, the museum displayed juniper-wood skiffs and hand-made push poles to navigate the shallows. It talked about Gilded Age hunt clubs (the town name “Duck” is no accident) and used videos to crack history wide open. I tried my hand at tying a bowline knot (and learned to pronounce it: “bo-lin”). Dare I root for rain again?
October 12: Wandering around the 19th century homestead of the Currituck Lighthouse keeper, Cindy noted that family’s evident hospitality: a two-hole privy. Cindy said her father had grown up with one out in the Ohio countryside. Why end a perfectly lovely conversation with your guest just because Nature calls?
October 13: At last, at last. The gray skies melted into shimmering blue. Yesterday, the ocean had churned green and angry and threatened to devour the dunes. Today, we ambled along the beach in waves up to our knees and ducked amiably under fishing lines fringing the sand. By evening, we toasted our luck with cocktails and a cloud-gloried sunset. And, of course, we raised a glass to friendship.
October 14: On the beach this morning, I saw the Australian Shepherd puppy we’d greeted yesterday. Today, the hard sand was her sidewalk and the sea breeze her caress. Her young man sprinted down the beach, inviting the puppy to follow. He ran 40 yards; she ran 35, stopped, plopped down, and awaited her reward. He applied a vigorous skritch behind the ear, and she was off again running for joy.
Bonus: This week I received a copy of Exhale, a literary journal that published my piece Birth Amid the Noise. (Yay!) You can read it here. And you’ll find links to my other three published pieces on my Welcome page.
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