Wind’s howlin’. Seas are up. Bits and pieces of trees are whizzing by. Winter is almost here.
Neighbours aren’t, tho. The last of ’em left Saturday morning. Miles and miles without a soul around but us. Fantastic!
Even boat traffic has dropped way, way off.
That kind of loneliness grows old if extended for long but, out here, it is usually a brief thing. There are still long term neighbours. They are just a bit further away. They’ll come. We’ll go to them. Eventually. There will be companionship. But there is always a feeling of separation around this time – this time of the summer people leaving.
The rest of us tend to use this time to begin hunkering…..however that shows up. It usually means getting in the wood from the shed, planning some indoor activities, trying to finish a few late outdoor ones. It is a time marked by making sure the door is kept shut and the larder is full and all the fuel tanks are up for the first half of the winter. It is a time of not planning off-island activities although, to be fair, I have been slowly dropping those for years. Hunkering down for the winter is not what it used to mean in the old days but it is still a phenomena out here. We still tend to hibernate a bit.
Yesterday I began to fill the indoor woodpile from the outdoor shed. We stack a week’s burning inside to dry it out a bit more and to have it handy. It is a tiny chore but marked because it signifies the seasonal shift. Officially, it is now the ‘cold’ season.
Sal went through our clothes-at-hand and put away the summer stuff and pulled out the long-sleeved stuff. Again, a minor chore. But symbolic. And so the next week or two will go. Things put away. Other’s pulled out. We now seem to mark the seasons quite consciously and even, to a significant extent, live by them.
This year is, however, a bit different. We are also at that age when some friends are dying. It is pretty harsh but, I suppose, it is the way of things. The reason it feels so harsh is that it has not been the way of things for us – not my generation. Not yet. Not so much, anyway. Age taking people in clumps is a loss felt generationally and usually only once albeit drawn out over twenty or thirty years.
With too many tragic exceptions, the basic way of things has the 65 year olds beginning to say goodbye with only a few 90-to-one hundred year-olds around to hear it. But in many cases we also start saying goodbye to our own generation at much the same time as the one that has preceded us. Sixty plus is the introduction to exiting. It is a tough course but no one, it seems, fails to pass.
Of course, I mention all this because we currently have the prospect of soon losing some of those connections. And it will be hard. It may be the reason I feel that the cold season is so soon upon us. Seemed like only yesterday it was sunny.