Today I move into my winter house….on Lookout Way in Northeast Harbor. My little winter house is grey on the outside with a black door and I live upstairs, in a loft that floats above the street. There are lots of windows and a lovely porch for sitting and a big, open floorplan perfect for cooking and knitting and sewing or whatever catches my fancy.
When thinking about moving into my house, my first place of my own in five months (!), I am filled with happiness, excitement and a sense of relief. I am so grateful to the friends and family who have put me up since leaving the tall, skinny house in Philadelphia. After it was broken into, I was never able to sleep there and I think that is how I came down with shingles the last week I was in the city. I was proud of that house, despite its many flaws: its slanted floors, its leaky ceilings, its ill-fitting doors and hodge-podge kitchen. I am a born interior decorator; I think I wrote about this earlier, about how I feel like my home is a giant, ever-changing art project. People often tell me, when they come to my home, that it is beautiful and cozy. I take this as a huge complement because I spend most of my time at my house, being somewhat of a homebody or hermit.
Yesterday, as I was driven through the woods in a friend’s amazing old 1970’s Porsche and staring at the blazing colours in the leaves, all yellow, red, peach, and orange, I felt winter coming, creeping around the edges. We sat for a while at a camp house over by Long Pond, and I could see the yellow sunlight slanting so sharply through the trees, making the moss shine gold in the afternoon light. As we sat, we heard the strange calls of loons floating on the pond in the distance. Their call sounds like a strange ghost and ricochets across the water: it makes you shiver.
I am sitting here, drinking coffee and thinking about the winter house, and the winter season that is inevitably marching ever closer with each passing day; even now as I sit in my parent’s kitchen, the huge maple tree outside has hundreds of green leaves dotted with the rust spots of autumn. Rusting leaves that are turning yellow and brown and ever so slowly falling to the ground are the harbingers of the blue light of winter: the ice and the snow and the cold wind. Tomorrow it is supposed to rain all day and I hope to make it to the Asticou Gardens before all the leaves are pulled off the trees in the next few days’ storms.
I have been really inspired lately by an artist new to me, Carl Larsson. My family received a Christmas card of one of his paintings, and since seeing it, I have been spending lots of time looking at his interpretations of Swedish domestic life at the turn of the last century. I am not sure if it is because the climate of Sweden is so similar to our climate here, or if it’s all the red furniture and old stoves, but I truly love his paintings and have chosen to be inspired by his artwork, the Pharmacy Museum of New Orleans, the performance space of Sleep No More at the McKittrick Hotel, and the assemblage-collage-collection artwork of Joseph Cornell and Rosamund Purcell to decorate the new house. This house is only mine for about eight months and then becomes a summer weekly rental, so I cannot truly move into this place and take it over as I am wont to do…but it’s good practice for the more permanent place that I will find in the spring.
In the meantime, boxes are packed and stacked and ready to be loaded into the car my brother and I will be using to move me to my new house. This is only the second house that I have had that has been mine and mine only; I cannot truly express my absolute love and excitement at the opportunity to live by myself again. It is such a luxury, and such a beautiful one. When I packed everything up yesterday and got it ready to go, I was so happy to realize how little stuff I actually have. During the packing process, I got rid of even more stuff, making a large pile to donate to various organizations here. It feels great to feel like I am opening a door into a new life, one of my own making, one of my own choosing, solely because it is what I wish to be doing with my time and my life.
After moving, I will spend time unpacking and decorating my new little nest, and planning out my Halloween costume. There is a small community celebration here that I hope to add to by doing a storytelling hour at the library, in my character of Perchta, a sometimes benevolent spirit of spinning, yarn, and the hunt (appropriate, no?).
Life marches on…..and it’s another beautiful, cold day.