Posted by: jevcat | July 1, 2011

Summer Morning Rambling

Ozzie has taken to waking me mornings if I’m not up early enough by yowling once in my ear.  I think he feels it his duty as “man of the house,” now my Beloved is away, to supervise things and see to it, as my German-American Beloved would say, that “alles ist in ordnung.”

I’m not working for pay this morning, and apparently choosing not to be doing any work at all, but just to be.  So I fished my walking sandals out from under the dresser where they’ve been lurking since the weather turned chill last fall, pried the dust bunny babies off the Velcro of the straps, and set off down to the water.

Walking down behind the minor league stadium, I suddenly notice how tall the trees there have become, the lower edge of their leaves now at the level of their full height when they were first planted.  When did that happen?  Have they shot up overnight or have I just not noticed their slow uprising these last several years?

The sky is what my Beloved, who used to have a pilot’s license, calls “painful blue” and my surrogate uncle, who used to make wonderful clergy vestments, calls ”St. Michael’s blue.”  Unless, that is, you look at the horizon and see the brownish layer of what passes for air most summer days in New York, but I don’t.  I also don’t look at the Staten Island 9/11 Memorial on my right, keeping watch from across the harbor over the place where the towers stood.  The flowers in planters around it are a tropical cacophony of colors – lovely but loud, they are too lively for my mood this morning.  Besides, hibiscus?  In New York?

A seagull glides overhead, and there are one or two shreds of cloud cotton wool, like what clings to where the inner label was after you pull the stopper out from a vitamin bottle.  Across the water in Brooklyn, the great white behemoth of one of the big cruise ships floats at dock in Red Hook – it’s all white, so it’s not one of Cunard’s queens, which have black hulls.  Folks with money will soon be off somewhere or other.

I don’t envy them; I’m happy sitting here, having my morning conversation with my Beloved via the miracle of cell phones, as he sits by the waters of Taunton Bay in Maine.  I’ve been reading a funny, lively English novel, and, listening to myself, I realize my vocabulary is bending towards “Bringlish,” sprinkled with sentences ending with “then” – as in “Well, that’s alright, then” – and rather more use of the word “rather” than usual.  I wonder if he notices the influence but don’t ask.

Between me and the water, a darning needle of prehistoric proportions hovers, while in the foreground grackles with glossy wings graze the grass salad bar.  There’s a sound of water lapping, sometimes louder when occasional rollers from a big boat passing splash against the rocks in front of the sea wall.  The Canadian geese are mucking up grass elsewhere this morning, but a sparrow is chiding me from the next bench.  Little birds are diving for a mid-morning seafood snack – not my own choice, which runs more to the Dunkin Donuts 99¢ large iced tea and selection of Munchkins I’ve splurged on – but I wish them “bon appétit.”  Two small yellow butterflies are playing the catch-me-if-you-can mating game, and an insect resembling a tiny ladybug but with a shell like a yellow/black checkered flag adorns my cup.

The “native grasses” – carefully planted by landscapers – are already looking like high summer, their tassels dancing to the breeze’s tune.  Over to the left the lighthouse that isn’t (it’s a clubhouse) tops the hill of an exclusive golf course that was landscaped to resemble the Celtic lands associated with that sport’s origins.  Its aggressively enormous – even at this distance – American flag flaps condescendingly in my direction, but I’m watching the ballet of barges pushing whatnot across the harbor.

I’ve always had a soft spot for the tubby, hard-working tugs that chug along, keeping commerce moving.  I know some of their companies by their colors, but not that of the one passing now – one of my favorites.  It’s taller than most tugs and is painted white with a couple of thin bands of cheerful red trim.  It always reminds me of a birthday cake.  Is than an antenna or a candle on top?  It doesn’t matter.  What matters is that it gives me pleasure, as does everything, it seems, in this moment.  It is enough.

Stop.  Be quiet.  It’s summer, it having slipped in unnoticed when the door was off the latch.  It is enough.


  1. I was born on Staten Island 1949. Port Richmond. But my parents moved to Miami when I was 5. I had to go with them of course. I missed out on growing up with that huge extended Italian family and have always been quite bitter about that. It may have been part of God’s plan because I think I would have been a rotten character up there and Miami was a much better place in which to grow up at the time. Now it is a dangerous place with its crime, drugs, thugs and an immigrant population which is in the majority that just destroys everything from property to decent and wholesome values.

    • I didn’t know you were a native Staten Islander, Carl! I was raised in Manhattan and moved here 26 years ago, and I love it. I live in St. George, which is not far from Port Richmond, and we are over that way often. I can’t share your feelings on immigrants, though.

  2. You’re a better Summer-ian than me. I realized how beautiful it was on my way home last night and fought the urge to go to the park as the bugs have a habit of swirling in front of my face while I walk and feasting on me regardless of the chemical armory I have at my disposal to keep them away. They seem to laugh at my vain efforts. I guess that’s only fair as I look out my windows, see them, and laugh at their inability to get me inside my haven home.
    I’m glad you had a chance to enjoy it though!

    • The bugs go after Roger, too, but mostly ignore me.

  3. Janet–
    I feel refreshed, as if I had taken the morning walk with you.

    You are such a wonderful writer…I always come away smiling.


    • Thanks, Jane. When I feel discouraged, your comments always shore me up. I’m so glad I discovered your blog last year — and so got to know you, at least “virtually.”

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