RUNNING OUT OF SUMMER from Anne de Marcken on Vimeo.
I regret saying I would teach in the fall. But maybe even if I hadn’t, I would still be feeling this urgency, this sense that I am at every moment letting something irreplaceable slip away with too little notice. This day is the only this day ever. I will never get this back. There will never be another. That is the feeling once the air changes, once the light changes, once it is sharp.
I talked on the telephone to Mum and she said she’d smelled fall in the air the morning before. I said it hadn’t happened yet here. And then the next day it did. Fall. Fall. It is the right word. There is flail or there is surrender, but there is only one way it will go. Fall.
GHOSTING from Anne de Marcken on Vimeo.
The sign of a good summer: I have lost track of how many times we’ve been sailing. Many hours stolen from the middle of work days. Many hours added to the ends of days that were already so full. Even one night sail.
Mostly the wind has been light, and I have let myself just enjoy this – begin to accept that for me sailing is not what it might be for others: not a test, not a proving. It is a quieting, a stilling, a settling-in and down. I sometimes find myself wanting to listen to something other than the world in and around the boat…to tune into the news on my NPR app. But I do not yield to this temptation. I stay there. Fully there. I wait and watch and listen.
I am always sad and happy to be back at the dock. I love the tending and trimming that goes with stowing June properly. The coiling, cleating and furling. I love the perfecting of care. I love the utility. I love the beauty of this boat. I love the work of her.
Just applied the fifth coat of varnish to the tiller. It is perfect varnishing weather, which, I have to try not to think about, is also pretty much perfect sailing weather. Warm. Light breeze. Not too humid. It was so dry this morning, I was able to mow the lawns before nine o’clock while Daniel was working in the beds on either side of the front steps. The nut came loose from the lawnmower handle again, so I had to stop almost before getting started and run over to Oly Supply. Last time I got nuts and washers that matched the ones that came loose, and bolts the same length as the originals. The tall, quiet guy who showed me where to find the metric fasteners asked me if I wanted to match the length of the bolt from the mower I’d brought in as a guide, or did I want to get longer bolts. Match the length, I said. I wondered why he would ask, but I didn’t follow up. Now I know. This time I got longer bolts and wing nuts instead of the regular ones. I also went straight to the metric fasteners on my own. I like learning this way best of all. Becoming increasingly proficient by accumulating bits of practical knowledge through a combination of advise, help, and trial and error. I finished up the lawn and as I was going around cleaning up the stubborn dandelion stems by hand, I found the missing nut. The washer will turn up eventually.
Trash day. This week, recycling. It is supposed to get hot, though yesterday the prediction overshot the day’s actual high of 77. Just in case, I changed the bedding yesterday in preparation: just sheets and a thin cotton blanket. I remember visiting Boston in the summer and lying perfectly still under just the sheet so as not to generate any excess heat. Mum must have advised me on this, because I would have been too young to reason it out for myself. I would slide my hand under the pillow to find a cool spot, would try to conserve the experience, only allowing myself infrequent dips into the cool. Sometime in the night I would turn the pillow over for a moment of relief. The room smelled like brick and plaster and the pink tea roses from Mr. Nick’s. After so many cold summers in Oysterville, the heat here is surprising and marvelous. It seems as if it must be a fluke, but last summer was hot, too, and no one else seems amazed. I love it. But the lawns will need to be mown soon again and that will be miserable. I’ve started watering in the evenings even though I know it is wasteful. June is in the driveway awaiting a shipment of seam compound from Jamestown Distributers. Today I’ll put the fourth coat of varnish on the new tiller—halfway there. We might be ready to launch in a week. Sailing before long. Work in the yard consists mostly of pulling weeds: ivy, blackberries, thistle. The thistle is terrible because of hay fever, but not hard. Ivy is the most gratifying. I love to see the shapes of the trees emerge, and the dappled sunlight loosed on the yard in the evening. But, really, it is the least urgent and I only do it to give myself relief from the harder work of blackberries…and writing.