A Note from the Editor:
I lived in New York City for eighteen years, first in an apartment on an airshaft, and then in attached Brooklyn row houses. In such city places, with sunlight scarce and the door locked tight, my rooms were almost the same year-round. It’s different in this shingled pile in Gloucester.
I’m amazed yet again at how different the winter house is from the summer house. It’s like having two abodes (yet saving me from the mixed blessing of a second home).
All summer the screen door screeked open on damp beach towels and flippers, a relaxed clutter. But today when I come through the old wood door shut against a cold wind, I want to see hats and mittens neatly paired in baskets. The cellar has been emptied, finally, of dusty preschool toys, a bittersweet clean-out making room for lacrosse sticks and camp stoves. Noises change, too. Drifting in and out through open windows, summer’s sounds are anonymous. Winter brings intimacy, what with conversations overheard, slippers padding on the stairs, and bedroom doors clicked shut. With its crazy roof angles and walls of beaded board, the third floor takes on the air of an Adirondack lodge, no longer that of a sailboat cabin. The leaves are brown, heaped dead, but their falling revealed the winter view of the Atlantic after summer’s lush screen.
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I love New England and its changes, even with the rigors of a new season—tender shrubs to wrap, terra-cotta pots to be emptied and stowed, rakes taken downstairs and snow shovels hauled to the porch. I love the order this brings to days and months and seasons. Cordwood stacked with precision promises rest along with warmth.
Mine is a different house now. Just when it seemed that we were too dispersed, the house has reverted to familiar domesticity, glowing with yellow light by 4:30 every afternoon, warm and closed around us. Happy holidays to all.
10 Harbor Rd., Gloucester, MA 01930