Seasons in Springs
The East End is a refuge for imaginative people. It’s a place where the outside world evaporates, liberating your mind to map uncharted territories and tune into new frequencies. It’s spiritual indulgence that, in an area infamous for extravagance, goes surprisingly unsaid.
After coming across a series of hideously embarrassing entries in a previous diary, I began keeping these journals, albeit governed by two rules: chronicle exquisite moments that are often forgotten; and petty, personal junk is forbidden. It’s my way of celebrating the beauty of life and my surroundings, and reflecting on the nature of expression.
Like many others before me, the East End serves as my muse. If there has to be one reason why I’m opening up the pages of my life, it’s this: this place gave me something, and I’m giving back.
Springs break, part 1
10/25/14 Was distracted [by a] conversation mid-post, and suddenly it’s 11 days later and I’m writing from another idyllic waterfront spot 1,430 miles northeast of where I left off. I’m back at the Franey compound on Gerard Drive in East Hampton, having traded the mighty Mississippi for Gardiner’s Bay, on one side, and Acabonack Harbor on the other. Rather than recount the remainder of our southern adventure now, in writing, I’m going to print and paste photos of the highlights at a later date. Julia, Mom and Katrine just left for Atlantic Beach and dosas, and the empty house, autumn sun and symphony of crickets, sparrows and waves is simply too sublime to resist. It’s no revelation that I’ve felt creatively sapped of late, but the realization that peacefulness (in mind and in my environment) is crucial to satisfying output is a fact I’m still wrapping my head around. (Finding and making time for that quiet is a whole other story…) Many things are in flux at the moment — from Sean’s burgeoning career to my decision to take a step back from my job to pursue my true interests. I am remaining as open-minded and flexible as possible as I picture what our daily routines will look like, but reserve hope that I’ll be afforded more moments like this! I’m sitting in a beach-battered Adirondack chair, using a piece of driftwood as an impromptu desk and looking out at a tableau of mostly blue: Gardiner’s Island, a sliver of fading greens and browns, dividing sea and sky. Of course Melody and Cleo are refusing to allow me a minute of silence, so I’ll wrap up and enjoy a cigarette in the ocean air before everyone returns. The tides are turning (no pun intended…), but good omens are everywhere, even in today’s fading afternoon light. As I approached my sandy outpost to finish up this entry, I nearly missed a praying mantis soaking up the sun in the high grass. A little research confirmed my suspicions of its mythology: a symbol of good luck. (…I also learned that, “in China, nothing cured bedwetting better than roasted mantis eggs”…so…good to know?)
Springs break, part 2
10/26/14 Collectively decided to extend our “springs break” (get it?) another night, and spent a blustery afternoon in Sag Harbor meandering down main street, killing time before Katrine’s 3:00 Jitney. At some point, we found ourselves in Blooming Shells (“the sea shell shop”), where I snapped up a crystal rod that’s supposed to bring serenity into the home (I forget the name, but, in a post-bed-bug world, we need all the help we can get) and a “cat’s eye” shell, another other things. At first glance, I mistook the latter for a glass eye, and was instantly transported back to a market in Jaipur, India (March 2006), where I lost a haggling match over a set of glass eyes and walked away empty-handed (a decision I regret to this day). Today’s mollusk mollified said regret (though it will never be fully abated until I own Indian glass eyes…) It’s a species of snail called Turbo petholatus. Interestingly (I thought), the valuable part is not the shell but the creature’s operculum — the “trapdoor” which closes the opening of the shell when the soft, vulnerable parts of the snail retract. Like its namesake gemstone, these operculum are traditionally used for protection. They rose to popularity in the Victorian era, but remain common elements of mojo and gris-gris bags today. The more you know!
Miniatures and midwinter dementia
2/13/15 For most of this morning, I believed it was Valentine’s Day. Not only did I labor over a card for Sean*, but I wished no less than 26 people a happy holiday (with accompanying funny picture) before Sean corrected me. Overall, people just sort of went with it — good, if they too, were unsure of the date (or if love was simply in the air!); bad, if they’ve come to expect nonsensical texts from me, not rooted in any version of reality…oh well! I’ll likely never know one way or the other, and frankly I don’t really care. I’m writing form mom’s new home in East Hampton (REDACTED). It’s lovely, warm and spacious — a nice reprieve from the cabin fever both Sean and I have been wracked with of late. Anyway, we arrived early (10:30?), Sean and Mac getting right into work, though I still have some incomplete projects, the sheer volume of the duo, their noses to the grindstone, was unbreathable. Instead, I drove to Sag Harbor under the guide of mailing a few packages for Sean. My real motive was purchasing more sparklers (which are inexplicably illegal in NYC LAME). With the parcels en route and 15 packages of sparklers in hand I found myself back in the hardware store (that had been incredibly gracious and helpful back in December, with my Art Bus Project box). I was seeking the same type of contraption used in speakeasies by doormen to inspect hopeful entrants. You know , they slide a compartment aside, revealing just their eyes, and ask for a password. Unfortunately, the hardware guys were also at a loss, but when I explained my objective in more detail (glass doll eyes, semi glory hole theme), things began to gel, and I walked away with a solid brass door viewer (and another giant nail, also a gift for Anna). Since I had few extra minutes, I allowed myself to peruse The Wharf Shop’s cabinet of miniatures, leaving with a magazine rack (“Time” and “Better Homes”), an imitation oil portrait from the 1800s (my guess); and a pair of skies I sent to James. The shop had several toilets that caught my eye, but you have to draw the line somewhere…
2/21/15 So much to write (do, plan, attend, etc.) and so little time! As I become increasingly consumed by The Art Bus Project, I’m finding less time and energy to devote to writing in here. Hopefully, I will soon find a balance. First, a recap of my v-day visit to the Parrish Art Museum, in Water Mill, which was exhibiting a wonderful showcase of student art (pre-k through grade 12). I made my way there in the house before a blizzard began, and the long, ship-like halls were enveloped with the hallmark chilled and silent sense of the calm before the storm. The photos, drawings, sculptures, etc. on view were incredible, spanning from shiny piles of giant candies to an installation that was part “middle-of-the-road aide trip,” par “under-the-sea version of ‘Behind the Looking Glass’”. Overall, an excellent experience!
2/27/15 Back in East Hampton! In fact, I’m fresh off a visit to the local dump (a chore ignorantly accepted without hesitation). There are few things in this world that force a person to really take stock of their life like flinging week-old, leaky garbage bags into industrial dumpster as freezing, stench-filled wind blows relentlessly (and forcefully) into their nostrils. Fortunately, life is pretty great at the moment, so I was able to cleanse my spirit of the foulness with relative ease. (Ridding it from my hair may prove more of a challenge…)
Sweaty south fork sojourn
8/19/15 Back in East Hampton! (But not for long — heading to Newport tomorrow morning for Thompson and Misty’s nuptials: wedding No. 2, summer 2015.) It’s still steamy, even out here at the beach: at 3:15 PM, it’s a humid 84 degrees, and every square inch of my skin is coated in a layer of sweaty film…lovely! Anyway, we’re gearing up for a more sophisticated variety of film tonight at Guild Hall: a screening, held by mom’s organization, The Retreat, of a movie about rape on college campuses, “The Hunting Ground.” It’s an exciting event for mom, so in spite of my swamp-creature-like state and the picture’s somber subject matter, I’m trying to get myself pumped up into action mode. John was here this weekend for a fun and art-packed 48 hours, including, but not limited to: two visits to Montauk (the first to the inspiring Art Barge; and the second to a less-so “Havana themed” soirée at Gurney’s); the Pollock-Krasner house; Cedar Point; and the shores of the Atlantic. All-in-all, a weekend to remember! Anyway, time to begin beautifying for the evening’s main course…more, probably from Europe (in a couple of weeks!)