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Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Time’s Wingèd Chariot

“But at my back I always hear 
Time’s wingèd chariot hurrying near."
— Andrew Marvell, "To His Coy Mistress"

The art of “decking the halls” takes some creative maneuvering when you’re a full-time working mom. Each day the littlest bit gets done; garland on the mantles one night, pomanders on another. The tree will stay bare for a few more days until the weekend saunters by again, and the ever-growing list of things to do unravels like Christmas ribbon to the floor.

It’s not an easy life, being away from your home for so long and squeezing in as much as you can for the short time that you are. Once I close the door behind me at the end of each day, I’m mommy again, and every second under my roof with my daughter counts. Since she was born, the essence of time has become so much more profound. The simplest routines have become of utmost importance to me; greeting Catherine in the morning, getting her dressed, rocking her to sleep before putting her to bed. To me, these moments are to be savored like a fine wine, deeply and with the understanding that it will all slip down so fast.

This newfound sense of awareness has also lead me to appreciate the world around me as though I was experiencing it for the first time. I’ll often find myself at the edge of my bed in the middle of the night, gazing out my window at the moonlight shrouded over the yard, or taking in the deepest breath of air as I leave my office. I am always looking up at the sky, but don’t all things, for that matter? The tree, reaching with its bony branches, the bird, searching for the best direction home.

The nights come earlier this season and last longer. I drive home in the darkness, following familiar roads lit hazily by streetlights and passing cars. I do this all monotonously and without thought, as if my hands upon the steering wheel were of another body, the pedals pushed by some mystical force. I pull into my driveway, step outside, and suddenly I’m back again. I look up at the jet-black sky freckled with stars and breathe in the dampness of the night. Turning towards the house, I glance into the large bay window glowing warmly with light and see Catherine smiling in her highchair.

I open the front door and walk quickly inside.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Changing Leaves

"And all the lives we ever lived and all the lives to be are full of trees and changing leaves."
- Virginia Woolf

When I look back on these last two years of my absence from this blog, I am astounded at how much has happened in such a short window of time!  Like a sudden rush of wind, life comes at you quick, and once you’ve smoothed back your hair and regained your composure, years have swept by and you’re a wife, a mother, and have a 30-year mortgage. At least that’s how it worked out for me.

On a blistering cold February day in 2016, I found our home while driving through the town of Setauket, an old coastal community on the north shore of Long Island. I said I “found” it, but I’d already known about the house and saw it on and off the market for quite some time, never completely sure what its status was. I can’t tell you what possessed me on that particular day to pull over and write the real estate agent’s number down, but before I knew it I was scheduling a showing.
“Could you tell me why it hasn’t sold yet?” I asked the agent over the phone with a hint of worry in my voice. This was a highly desirable neighborhood, and from what I could tell, the property was in mint condition.
“The house is waiting for the right person,” was all he replied.
When we arrived there that following week, it was another painfully cold afternoon with biting winds that tore through the surrounding woods. I parked our car in front of the house, and just as I shut the engine off, the for-sale sign blew over onto the icy snow before us.
At that moment, I knew the house had made its choice.
We moved in on Memorial Day weekend, and it’s safe to say the spirits of the house are friendly, in case you thought I was hinting otherwise. It didn’t take long for us to make it our own, hauling in the troves of antiques that once overwhelmed our cramped apartment, updating the kitchen, and annihilating a jungle of knotweed that had conquered half of our backyard.
Then, right in the midst of all the hammers pounding, paint drying, and sprinklers wetting the newly sown grass, we found out I was having a baby.

Our beautiful daughter, Catherine Anne, was born on May 15th, 2017, and subsequently my own life too had begun that day. Returning through the threshold of our house after being discharged from the hospital, thoughts about period correct paint colors and window treatments that once echoed from these walls were markedly silent. Instead, the name Catherine Anne reverberated like a church bell on Christmas morning throughout every room, soared up through the chimney and burst into the sky with a wondrous toll. Catherine Anne!
Our house, in a torrent of celebration, had finally become a home.

Since then, there has been about 6,200 diaper changes under our roof, seemingly the same amount of baby toys littered across what used to be a floor, and more laughs and kisses than we could ever possibly count. Did I mention I also got married?

           So that, my friends, is where I have been these past couple of years, and from where I will now pick up. The winds have calmed, and I'm ready once again to sit down and write.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Homes of Wethersfield

My living room on Christmas Eve; bayberry candles lit, winter tales being read, eggnog cake in the oven. With the hustle and bustle of the holidays now over, the month of January gives us a time to refresh and reflect on the years that have past and what we have looking forward. This is the month of fresh slates, new dreams, and planning for a warmer day. Despite the biting winds and unforgiving weather, it truly is a special time of year.

The Isaac Stevens House (ca. 1788)

Jake and I took the ferry to Connecticut on Sunday to pick up an 18th-century school master's desk and detachable cupboard for our collection, and afterwards took advantage of the trip by paying a visit to a town that has always been on my "New England Bucket List": Wethersfield, Connecticut.

Settled in 1634, Wethersfield is Connecticut's oldest town and holds the state's largest historic district, showcasing over a thousand beautiful historic buildings such as the one above. The neighborhood is a historic preservationist's dream, and being in the smallest sense an "aficionado", I was helplessly smitten with all of it.

The Joseph Webb House (ca. 1752). This house served as Washington's headquarters in May of 1781 where he, alongside of French commander the Comte de Rochambeau, planned their joint victory at Yorktown which ended the American Revolution. If walls could talk!

The Silas Deane House (ca. 1770), built for an American French Diplomat of the Revolutionary War.

First Church of Christ (ca. 1761)

This home is for sale! (Check it out here)

My personal favorite on Main Street. Perfection.

... I fell madly, deeply in love with that door. I still haven't recovered.

And as if one wasn't enough, there was another one on the side!

 More than likely the oldest house in town.

Wethersfield Cove, otherwise known as "Blackbird Pond" during the 18th century. 
This cove and the surrounding area created the setting for the Newbery Award winning children's novel, The Witch of Blackbird Pond.
(Click here to purchase the book!)

The Cove Warehouse, once a hub of activity when Wethersfield Cove was a major shipping port.

Another home for sale! Check out this beauty with an unbeatable view of the Cove here

The Buttolph-Williams House (ca. 1711), another token of inspiration for The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Although it seems much older, architecturally, than it actually is (as if 1711 isn't "old"!), this house is a great example of the enduring popularity of traditional English architecture utilized by New Englanders even into the early 18th-century.

It's easy to say that Wethersfield is a town electrified with history. Walking down it's tranquil streets, you can nearly see the spirits of each home you pass beckoning you to come inside, sit by their fires, and listen to their stories. Jake and I were only there for the afternoon, but both of us agreed that we could happily spend a lifetime exploring those streets, answering their calls.
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