Friday, March 07, 2008

Watching the sunset from a rocking chair.

After dinner, mom, dad and I would head out to the front porch in Maine and conclude our days watching the sun set.
As we sat in the enclosed portion of our Pratt's Island cottage front porch, we had a front row seat to the show of the sun's gradual descent to the horizon.
Mom wore her light-blue boat jacket and had her sunglasses perched on top of her head of white hair. Dad had his dark blue sweater and boat jacket on and furrows could be seen etched into dad's forehead and tufts of hair were on the sides of his face.

As we sat in our tall back green rocking chairs with tightly weaved cane going across the bottoms of our seats, we could feel the tightly-knit cane against our backs and we would occasionally have to get a cushion and place it on the chair to make it more comfortable. We often moved from side to side to try to find some comfort as we rocked in these heavy rockers, which were sometimes quite difficult to move around.

When we rocked on our front porch, whenever Dad , mom or I would walk through the door, it creaked. We would often bring out some Rocky Road ice cream in our white plastic bowls , a few cookies and some sprinkles to enjoy. And if we closed the screen door fast, it made a loud snapping sound since our cottage lay exposed to the salt air all the time and was getting quite old indeed . Making gentle maneuvers rather difficult.

Looking down from the porch, the balding fir trees were seen. They lined the edge of some of the craggy rocks. When one got close to them, some of their roots lay exposed to the air.

At the right side of our porch, we saw The Hendricks Head Light. Its red beacon atop the rectangular base could be seen rotating and flashing slowly. A little house was attached next to it to store supplies that may be needed in its upkeep.

Out to sea, we saw the faint glimpse of a white light flashing. It was the Seguin lighthouse situated atop a large cliff of rocks 6 miles out into the ocean. Six miles is quite a long distance since I once walked that on land while on the very island of Southport, Maine. Also, some of the bell buoys had flashing lights on them and the bells could be heard on them as they rocked back and forth.

We looked across the Sheepscot Bay and saw Georgetown Island stretched out across the horizon. The small port of Five Islands lay quiet from our viewpoint. Ships resting from a busy day out to sea. The coastline of Maine has many fingers that reach out into the ocean and Georgetown Island was one of them and the nook of Five Islands Harbor nestled within its reach.

Above Georgetown Island, the sky began to change colors and gradual hues of color began to emerge. Reds and oranges were painted into the clouds and the purple hues intersected with the red hues as well. An occasional contrail from an airplane sometimes could be seen around the clouds as a dark stripe of white light. The sunsets always took on special meaning for us and were prime shows when the clouds were just the right size and thickness. Hard to actually describe in words. They actually were the viewing of the night since television was not included in our excursion on the coast.

The evening air was becoming crisp and took on quite a chill. The breeze gradually brushed across our faces. Gently wrapping its tendrils around us. We heard the cry of the gulls as they headed to Gull Rock and the their shadows silhouetted against the sky. They flapped their wings and swooshed overhead. Almost looking like they would land next door to us. One year, George the seagull frequented our front lawn and was a topic of conversation amongst us. Mom would often comment, "What does he want from us now. Doesn't he have a place to stay and not just hang around us. Where is his family? Doesn't he have one?"

Other forms of wildlife on our porch were a source of amusement for us. One summer on this very front porch, we had a family of swallows that built a nest in the eaves of the porch and lay their eggs and raised their family. Each day, we could hear their morning chirps and the parents swooping down from the nest and going out to forage some food and bringing it back for their youngsters. It was a treat to get to see that during one of our inaugural summers on the coast of Maine.

One form of wildlife that we were always battling was the pesky mosquitoes. We often would pass along the orange bottle of off and spray it on ourselves. The fresh tingling of the moisture from the spray lingered in the air. It usually kept our mosquito friends away for a little while. Yet, every now and then, we heard somewhere in our hair or behind our ear,"Bzzz. Bzzz. Yet it was always hard to find exactly where the noise came from. Yet, after several large white bumps on the skin came to the surface, the trespass became rather evident.

Then it was time to retire from the porch and go to our living room where Dad and I laid the evening fire. Taking the read newspapers and crumpling them up under the crate in the hearth and placing the kindling sticks on top with two larger logs. Then Dad reached into the drawer and lit one of the matches to the fire. The flames quickly ignited the papers and then spread to the kindling sticks-their flickers dancing along the spine of the twigs. Then engulfing the logs and producing a great roaring fire of warmth and light for us to enjoy the last moments of the chill of the evening that came upon us.
As we watched the fire, we sat on the wicker sofa and rather hard cushion backed chairs and played some games of gin rummy while mom read her New york Times paper or worked on some double-crostics.

Then it was off to our bedrooms which still had a sense of chill lingering in the air marinated by the warmth of the evening fire. Basking in the coolness and calmness of a day on the rugged shoreline of Maine.

1 comment:

Jenn said...

This is a really nice memory, Scott. It's very evocative.