July 22nd, 2009


On the Reach

It's very peaceful here.

Our apartment on Riverside Drive is remarkably quiet. Even in the front, where Ellen's study is, the traffic noise is masked, just as the designers intended, by the wide swath of grass and trees between the carriageway running in front of the buildings and the drive beyond. The back, where my study faces the alley, the only noises are the building super putting out the garbage, workmen taking a ciggie break, the dog in the next building suffering from separation anxiety.

Here, there is no noise at all.

There are, however, sounds. Rain pattering on the leaves and grass or splashing on the open porch when there's a downpour. The cawing of crows, with which the pine wood flanking the house is plentifully supplied. The sudden clatter of the icemaker dumping newly-frozen cubes into the bin in the freezer. The irregular clack of Ellen's keyboard when she's writing on the third floor. The squeak of the rocking chair when she's reading downstairs.

And when I look out the window, the view is always subtly different. Sometimes, I can see over a stand of rosa rugosa and a field that slopes down to a stand of pines with an old graveyard in it across to the water of Eggemoggin Reach and the causeway between Deer Isle and Little Deer Isle and off to the horizon. Sometimes, all I can see is cottony fog, with a few lone pines poking up, and the glow that is a car with its headlights on creeping across the causeway. Mostly, it's somewhere between the two extremes, as the mist rises or settles on the water and the clouds gather or part. We've had two beautiful, warm, blue and sparkling days while we've been here, bracketed by grey drizzle and rain. And, you know, I haven't minded the rain at all, curled up in the nest I've made for myself on the glassed-in porch with a sofa and a slightly ratty blue blanket, surrounded by piles of books and papers and cups of tea, with my notebook and my laptop to hand.

I'll be missing New York any day now, and keeping up with my correspondence and the shenanigans of my LJ and Facebook friends. But for right now, ignorance is bliss and silence is golden and I'm actually catching up with work I've fallen behind on and read a book I didn't have to (Sarah Waters's The Little Stranger, which is wonderfully creepy and atmospheric and complex and dark) and even written over 2000 words on a new story, which is 3 scenes out of a possible 10, not a bad day's work for me. And made up a new pasta sauce, involving sheep yogurt and grated zucchini and onion and parmesan cheese and fresh pasta from the farmers market.

Ellen's making a fire now, and if I stop writing this, I may be able to finish Little Stranger before I go to bed. Sometimes, life is just good, you know? And I'm grateful.