Have you ever experienced the Cone of Uncertainty? It is a scary thing, the uncertain unknown . . . MUSICA
That’s our garden this morning, from the upstairs bedroom window, it looks nice and peaceful.
And here’s Jack, in front of the window, patiently waiting for me to put down the camera and pay attention to him. The only thing he’s afraid of is that I might leave the room before I shoot his rubber band across the bed so he can catch it in mid-air with his two paws, put it in his mouth and bring it to me and show me what a very good boy he is. He should never worry about that. I am his slave.
But things around here weren’t all that good a couple of days ago. The Police Departments canceled everything on the island for the Fourth of July, shut down the ferry’s to and from the island ~ the parade and the fireworks were rescheduled for the fifth, which was nice because it gave everyone something to look forward to. But first we needed to deal with a small problem. A hurricane was coming. Pouring rain was forecast but nobody knew what other damage Hurricane Arthur might do. There were some grim predictions. The news media was saying Martha’s Vineyard was inside the “cone of uncertainty.” (If you can say that with an echo in your voice, you will probably understand how it sounds to people inside the cone.) Uncertainty is such a scary thing. All we knew for sure, before the hurricane came, is that it was HOT. Hot, Humid and Miserable.
We closed the house up, turned on the air conditioners and hunkered down to wait out the storm. I can’t imagine what the tourists did; the island was packed for the holiday weekend. They couldn’t very well go to the beach. I’m sure the weather reports put them in a little bit of a panic. We were lucky because we live here so we had a perfectly lovely day. I climbed into my time machine and wrote on my book for a while, and went through old photo albums sorting photos to be scanned for the book including the one I took of the tree that fell on my house in the hurricane of 1985. I marked sections from my diaries that I hope to include. I took pictures for this post while Joe tinkered at his workbench in the barn — later he went across the street to visit his sister and keep her company so I took advantage of the moment and mooshed into the sofa with the cats and watched Miss Potter for at least the 37th time (that’s what Joe would say) while the wind blew and the rain washed over us. It was coming down harder than ever when we went to bed. I hoped we’d still be here in the morning. That cone of uncertainty hung heavy in our dreams . . .
Early the next day, the minute it got light, I took my camera outside to survey the damage. The storm was just rolling out and the clouds were moving fast . . . it had stopped raining, but the winds were still gusting, and best of all, it was so chilly I had to put on two sweaters. The storm had blown away all the heat and humidity; cool, dry air had come in and it was glorious. It felt like late September. It made me fall in love with Hurricane Arthur.
U n t i l I s a w t h e d a m a g e . . .
Oh yeah, it was a wreck… disgusting linden-tree blossoms were all over my Volvo . . .
There were leaves in the bird bath!!!!! I have no words for this.
Shockingly, the backs of the lawn furniture had been caught up in the deluge and had been blown forward. BOOM! Must have been a real racket when that happened.
I don’t know if you could see it in the last photo, or even this one, but close-up, the leaf litter situation is dire. Tatters all over the lawn. A real mess. And then there was this:
Our new hibiscus. Dead in the driveway. (Well, maybe not dead.) I was almost afraid to go upstairs and check out the rooms in the house to see what had gone on there. But as homeowner, it was my job to know. I steeled myself — for good reason — as I found out, the worst was yet to come.
Wait, don’t you want to see the worst? Squinch your eyes together and allow yourself to get used to this painful sight slowly.
I’m not kidding. This happened. We forgot to close the window. Wind took ‘er right down. So sad. Must go fill out the insurance papers.
But the most amazing thing is how quickly Mother Earth can heal herself. Twenty-four hours later, even after something like that, she is green and beautiful again.
The island is coming back to life. :-) I hope all our hurricanes can be this wonderful. And all the hurricanes in all the places in the world.
The next evening, on July 5th, the Fourth of July for those living inside the Cone of Uncertainty, we went with friends to the Vineyard Haven Yacht Club to have dinner next to the water and watch, from far far away, the Edgartown fireworks.
This has royally messed with our Cone heads because now we don’t know what the date is anymore. We are in utter confusion. But we took it like men and quit fretting ~ what difference does it make? Just let the soft breezes and salt air brush over us and watch the boats come in, and soon, it was like 1934 and we were beyond the reach of mundane modern-day concerns like what day it is.
Fireworks going off behind the ferry has got to be a quintessential Vineyard view wouldn’t you think? I imagine the people on board feel like they just stepped into a movie. What if this was your first time ever to arrive on the island? Wouldn’t that be unforgettable? This is the work of the Vineyard elves I told you about in one of my first books. Running ahead, putting visions like this out for anyone and everyone to see. I might have been homesick when I first moved to the island, missing my friends and family in California, but once you know about the elves, it’s very hard to leave.
Sometimes there are nights that are so beautiful you actually forget to take pictures, and this was one of them. We got these few, and this one of a yacht coming in . . .
But, sadly, we forgot all about pictures of the dinner and the dancing. It was actually a dinner dance at the yacht club, and I can’t tell you how much I wish I’d gotten a photo of so many things, including the HUGE bowl of fresh strawberries, the other HUGE bowl of whipped cream and the platters filled with shortcakes they put out for the dessert buffet.
It was an old-fashioned island dance, women wore summer dresses, men had on ironed pink shirts. Like a country dance being held in a garden, only this was the shore. The music was heavenly, the air was cool, we walked out on the pier and looked at all the blinking lights around the harbor and heard the water lapping on shore, it was a lovely evening, and it didn’t matter one iota that no one knew what day it was.
“I bought a dress, a romantic dress, a purely summer party dress: white, splashed with large pink dots, a floppy full skirt and bared shoulders. A dress for a summer tan, a summer dance.” ♥ Alice Adams
Then yesterday, for a change of pace, I painted my Prince Charming porch frog green. I always wished he was green, because I thought green would make a better contrast (from the beige he was before) to our white porch rail. So there he is, green as can be. Still all heart, sweetness and light.
There are lots of COMING ATTRACTIONS in my future I thought I would share with you. This is one of them, coming soon . . . this is our new Blotter Calendar. I just got the first one, hot off the press ~ I have to tell you, it turned really nice. Look how much bigger they are than they used to be. I put that paper clip there for size, can you see how big this is?
Here’s a better way to show it . . . this is my new wall-calendar on top ~ Kellee told everyone on Facebook they arrived last week, but just in case you missed it,
They came in last week!) ~ you can compare the two sizes ↑ here. I have a better idea . . .
I just realized I could use one of the old blotters for comparison. This really tells you. The new one is 22″ x 17″ to be exact. The Wall-Calendar, Two-Year Purse Calendar, Mini and Magnet are already in . . . and the Blotter is coming soon.
And I’m celebrating because today I send in the signed contracts for the Chinese Publishing Rights to A Fine Romance. This is the first time any of my books will be translated into another language and I’m very excited about it. They are going to copy the entire book using a “Chinese Handwriting Font” – I can’t wait to see it. It’s probably going to take months to do it, but watch this space because someday I’ll show you (and me) what our book looks like in Chinese! If I get an extra copy, I’ll sign it and we’ll make it a give-away.
More coming attractions start with “Yesterday,” when I had the very difficult assignment of going through our old Trip-to-England photos ~ I’m being reminded in this photo of the serendipity of deciding whether or not to go on and follow that path and see what’s at the end, or turning back. Of course we went on! Look at that place! How could we not?
The reason I was doing this is because I was asked by PBS Rhode Island Television to cohost a “Brit Com” Night next September 9th from 7:30 to 10:30 pm with Kathryn Larsen.
How fun! They are a PBS station that shows lots of wonderful English TV, such as Doc Martin, and (dare I say it out loud) Downton Abbey. I hope they stream our show so everyone can see it. I don’t know if they do yet.
They want us to talk about where we went and how I wrote A FINE ROMANCE and to give away lots of signed copies of it and also the new Ten Year Anniversary Edition of AUTUMN and Calendars too! The give-aways will be for people who send in pledges to the station, and they’re going to show lots of photos of the trip too ~ my only trouble was choosing which ones to send! My hope is that everyone watching will end up . . .
J U S T L I K E U S !
I don’t see how they could help it. It should be a lot of fun, I’ve also never been on PBS before, so of course I am instantly on a diet. We’ll talk about that later.
And one last thing:
I get to go back to the public library! My favorite summer thing to do! On July 14th (just around the corner I think …. if I knew what day it was I’d know for sure) at 4:30 in the afternoon, I’ll be speaking, signing A Fine Romance and answering questions at the West Falmouth Library on Cape Cod ~ You can read more about it HERE. Just in case some of you are in the neighborhood, I’d love to see you. I promise we’ll try not to have any hurricanes.
There are even more coming attractions, but I will save them for next time! Hope you are having a wonderful day everyone, Byeeee for now, XOXO