Around ten this evening, my boon companion rests his heavy head on my knee. He knows nothing of the Bruins or the British Baking Show; he only knows the call of the wild. If I don’t move for him and his needs, he puts one paw up on that leg. If I somehow have failed to hear his silent cry, both legs come up along with eighty pounds of golden retriever to fill my lap.
Photo by Allyson Bold
Summer often ends in a storm. One of the great whirling tempests of the Caribbean forms somewhere off the Azores and begins the slow dance across the warm Atlantic and around the Bermuda high. Those Who Know watch the glass and the Weather Channel to see how close and how far away the storm will pass. Then, when prudence and procrastination crash together at the boat ramp, summer gets towed away, shrink wrapped, and plopped onto a rack.
The Morning Bun is a ball of croissant dough, interspersed with layers of butter and crusted over with sugar and cinnamon. The lines at Wicked begin at six in the morning and, if you have been tardy with your alarm, you will find yourself sitting on the outside patio waiting for the next rack of buns to come out of the oven.
The easiest thing to give up is hope. The engines that power Nantucket are far off and implacable. They don’t respond to picketing, petitions, or letters to the editor. Those engines no longer get their feet wet on-island. We sold them off to live on a winning lottery ticket and a one-way boat ride. We converted our homes into asset instruments.
In August, if you catch the weather right, you can enjoy Billionaire Beach Day. Last week, at Fisherman’s Beach, the sky glowed, the ocean glistened, and the parking was available. After several days of a pretty heavy southerly wind, the waves wobbled in from the horizon until the hit the shallows, when they climbed to head high and collapsed into a rolling tube. Above the wind and waves, the Bombardiers, the G-7s, and the commercial jets landed and took off over Nobadeer. The people came.
Changeover day lurks in the middle of the summer. One set of guests leaves and their presence must be eliminated before the next set of guests arrives. Sometimes they leave ghosts behind.
We were asked to help clean a brand new house in Tom Nevers after a week’s rental. A crew of landscapers had come by, fluffed up the hydrangeas and the roses, then buzzed the incandescent grass into a military haircut. The pool people came out, ran a robot over the bottom of the pool, scooped out whatever was floating, then hosed down the deck.
We humans tend to be territorial. People hang out in areas that they like, staying in their comfort zones. Also, we generally stick to routines and, thus, can be fairly predictable. For example, my wife and I have our favorite spot where we sit for church every Sunday. We would be all out of sorts if we had to move to a different location. Doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it? No, but that’s how humans are. And all of these strange traits are directly applicable to us fishing folks, to be sure.
My morning routine goes like this: Step one – make coffee. Step two – check email while drinking coffee. Step three usually involves looking at the world news and being disgusted. Let’s just ignore step three for now, shall we? Much too depressing.
I have been vexed by a closet. Inside, on the floor, drifts of clothes, papers, hats, swim suits, and about fifty shoes in one shape or another. On the walls, on various shelves, are vases, plates, platters, and card board boxes with specific tools that we no longer need. I am not sure if the automatic bubble machine is strictly necessary at this stage of my life