June has been sneaking away from me, the days so filled with activity that I’ve barely noticed the blooming in my garden, the hotter days and the incredibly furry cat that stares at me intently, wondering when I’ll have a heart and take her to get her fur shaved off, for the love of God.
That would be scheduled for Wednesday. I’m not a monster.
My Beloved has been in Ireland for a week and a half, with no return date in sight. His mom is not doing well at all and I am very glad that he is with her. At the same time, the space that’s carved out in our lives by his absence is obvious — all the things he does around the house, the noises he makes, the stories he brings with him — are all suddenly absent. There’s a certain silence where I am used to hearing noise. I am listening, as I take out the trash and cook myself dinner, do the shopping and pass off the dry cleaning. I drive around in his massive truck and find myself fitting into the spaces that he normally inhabits, which feels good, because it feels like a service that I can do for him when he is so far away and so worried about bigger things. It always better to be doing.
My house has had a steady stream of visitors to keep me company while he’s away. These were planned visits, as we always get busy in the summer months, but I’ve appreciated the distractions. Last weekend, I went with friends out to the end of the island, where we visited the Montauk lighthouse, ate like kings, and found a wonderful little bookstore–the rather directly named Montauk Bookshop. They had a fabulous collection of books, with many lesser-known titles by classic authors, and a good selection of the backlists of more contemporary writers. I picked up Mary Shelley’s Mathilda, Jane Austen’s Lady Susan and Tana French’s Faithful Place, which I have been meaning to read for years. Stocked with more books than time, we went to find dinner at a place called Rick’s Crabby Cowboy Cafe because they served S’mores. Wouldn’t you?
A good trip. My next visitor comes from the U.K. in about three hours, so we’ve spent quite a bit of time this week pretending that we live in a much neater house than we really do. I’ve come to terms with reality and put away the paint supplies that have been sitting out since I started repainting the hallway back in May. Plaster is a look, right? In removing all of the stuff for the half-finished construction projects which aren’t likely to progress until the return of my Beloved, I’ve discovered that we have a lot more house than I thought we had. Now that I can see my living room again, I’m really looking forward to the arrival of the couches that we purchased on Memorial Day. The current couch has been slowly separating — the end seat is threatening to break off, like a polar ice cap, and has been in danger of floating away for some time. That, too, is a look. A look that will thankfully soon be gone.
Yesterday was the summer solstice. In honor of the change of seasons, my yoga teacher asked us what the first thing was that came to our minds when we thought of summer. Being in a room full of Long Islanders, nearly everyone named the beach. Her answer, however, was time — the extra hours of sunlight in summer give us that extra hour in our day that we’re always looking for. This is the time of year that we play in the sun and spend time reconnecting with the people that matter. As I’ve slowly whiled away the weekend, napping, dreaming, writing, cleaning, I kept finding myself thinking about the gift of time that summer brings. When my Beloved called yesterday for our evening chat, he mentioned that in Dublin, the sun didn’t go down until nearly 10 p.m. Here, a little further south, the sun will set around 8:30 p.m. When we were in the San Juan Islands at the beginning of the month, the evenings seemed to last forever, because we were far were as north as Ireland is. The light gave me energy and, above all, time.