Sunlight is filtering through the trees in our woods, reaching the ground in broad swaths and dappled patterns, green-gold, peach, and a muddy violet. These woods and the moving light within have sheltered me and given me the small daily pleasures I eagerly note, write about, paint, or just observe before moving on into the rest of my day. Although I love the Island’s open ocean views and dunescapes, I cannot imagine living anywhere other than this little woodland Mike and I have carved out for ourselves.
It’s Labor Day, a long weekend holiday. Last night we went out for distanced drinks with the Hayneses in Julia Humphrey’s backyard. Last week we had our first dinner guest in months, John Cooney, a friend from Washington, D.C. It made me realize how much I have missed our friends. It has been so easy for Mike and me to cocoon at home, just ourselves, and our own habits and routines, to call or email family and friends. Not ideal, as our two social evenings have shown. We humans all need one another. I will try to take advantage of the still-mild evenings to arrange for some socially distanced and masked social occasions.
I had spent my day off last week cleaning the house and making dinner for our anticipated evening with John. It had been raining all day, so I was spared the job of watering the garden. By 6 o’clock, the house sparkled and was filled with the aroma of Chicken Marbella coming from the oven. By 6:02 or 3, I was screaming at a muddy golden retriever who had come inside and jumped all over the newly washed slipcovers, floors, carpet, and dressed-for-dinner me. Mike took Abby (Abigail at that moment, her full name, used when she is in trouble) outside to hose her off while I restored order to the living room and dining room as best I could before John was due to arrive at 6:30. It all turned out just fine, as these things usually do, but it was quite a scramble in the moment.
One of the silly amusements I play in my head is coming up with names for Abby that start with the letters Ab. Martha Grimes, in her Richard Jury books, has given his friend Melrose Plant a horse and a goat named Aggrieved and Aghast. Sometimes on our walks, I go through a list to see how many I can come up with. Abscond, Absolve, Absent, Abridge, Abate, Abstract, Absurd, Abaft, Aboard, Abroad, and so on. You get the idea. I hope it’s keeping the synapses in my brain functioning as I age, because I will probably be into my 80s through this puppy’s lifespan. It makes me laugh, which is always a good thing.
I saw Steve Bernier at Cronig’s last week, and had to ask him about progress on our up-Island Cronig’s. He estimates another two months or so before we have our store back. He said that it’s been difficult to staff one store, let alone two, during the pandemic. Steve said he will begin closing the down-Island store at 7 pm instead of 8 after Labor Day, and will keep closed on Sundays to give the staff a break. I am always glad to see the familiar faces of Bianca and Haraldo, and former up-Islanders Phieu and Linda, and look forward to seeing all the work that has been done refurbishing our store. I really miss up-Island Cronig’s.
So many ways, large and small, that this pandemic has changed our lives.
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