Friday, July 10, 2009

The Outermost House

Could I live here?

At some point in a vacation week I have regularly asked myself that question. It is the point when getting from one address to another in a new location no longer seems daunting. I may have awakened from an afternoon nap and stepped out into a sun-filled yard or a street quiet and soft with rain. I am no longer living out of a suitcase and not yet needing to think about re-packing one. I am in a mood where it is momentarily easy to envision a different way to live life. I get a taste of a different way to move through the end of a weekday afternoon and into an early evening of dinner and drinks and conversation.

Those conversations during an evening of vacation ideally include a leading question from a dinner companion. There has been something about how I seem after a few days outside of my routines that has gotten someone else thinking. The agenda for the next day’s activities is briefly too practical a topic for the mood of the hour across from this companion. Smiles are easy, dreams are close, gratitude emerges for the space to name possibilities.

Could I live here?

I might like the John who walked through an art gallery earlier in the day. I might like the John who found an organ recital on a Sunday afternoon in a local church. I might like the John who walked through a bookstore and bought a new copy of a favorite novel, re-reading the first chapter later over a white beer and lemon. I might like the John who made an impulse purchase in a store specializing in papers and leather journals. I might like the John who excused himself from a group activity and chose to sit on a park bench and just muse for an hour. I might like the John who leaned on a wooden railing and surveyed a seacoast marsh and memorized the call of a bird suddenly overhead.

Could I live here – the life of this kind of John?

Click on the picture above: In September 1927 author and naturalist Henry Beston came to Nauset Beach in Eastham, Massachusetts. On the dunes he built a cabin with two rooms and a fireplace. There he lived a solitary year in the company of the ocean. As the seasons unfolded, Beston recorded his encounters with the waves, the winds and the wild creatures of the beach and dunes. The resulting book, The Outermost House, has become a classic chronicle of the rhythms of the seasons on outer Cape Cod.

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