The Flip Side

Posted on December 29, 2010


May be flippant, but while we’re pointed towards a new house, we’re still living in the old one. Life here has been punctuated since this summer with many sentences ending with “and this’ll be the last time we do that here…”

The last blueberry harvest (bumper crop intensely sweetened by drought). The last harvest from the orchard (practically nil — two cold spells in May meant no fruit set). The last harvest of grapes (best crop ever, where, unbelievably, Brix rose to over 20, thanks again due to drought, no dumping rains in September and no killer frost until October). This winter, I’m looking toward the last tapping of the sugar maples. I’ve been boiling only the last few years and have become accustomed to looking forward to setting a couple taps and spending afternoons in the gaining light tending an outdoor fire. It means winter’s about spent — something I get real grateful for.

When I survey my “lasts,” they mainly deal with the land. The land and what grows on it. I’ll miss the 7.5 acres and the lot being big enough to plot it out on a topo map. It won’t be easy to exchange this part of the earth for another just one-fiftieth (or so) its size. But I do gain something in this swap of private domains — I gain access to an incredibly large commons, Long Island Sound, a stretch of earth (yes, I know, more rightly water, but “water on earth”) that is much mine as yours and yours and yours.

The last town fall festival. The last Christmas and the last scraggly hemlock cut down from the back 40 to get tarted up and put on display in the living room.

There’s a difference in living when you have a certainty (or greater certainty) that every act you undertake will be the last time it will be experienced, or experienced in a specific context. I hate to use the word poignant, but there’s a sharpness, as well as a softening, of the moment. A clarity and a muddling muffling. All accumulating into a single lasting impression in a sudden rainstorm.

Note -- It's been more than 3 months between this post and the last (to
which this is a tangential response). The excuse: Too much, too quickly.
No time for reflection or even the movement to a standstill. No apologies.
No remorse. What comes, comes. What goes, goes.