Friday, May 31, 2013
Socks and the weather - Gloria continues
Billington's Cove had seasons, it was just that commonly recognized indications of them arrived when they chose. So it was that Mr. Apotienne, on a late-spring holiday, knew to bring his all-weather coat, his golf umbrella with the faded advertising tv logo and more than one pair of shoes that could survive a soaking from rogue waves or sodden paths. He also brought balled pairs of black woolen socks, new and old, which nearly needed their own suitcase, their number so great. While there was a cleaners and laundry service in Billington's Cove, and he held no illusion that every item of clothing he dropped off there was not at least scrutinized, examined with forensic care and, most likely, tried on, he knew he could keep himself in dry socks almost indefinitely, which gave him some sense of autonomy and comfort. Plus the fisherman's outfittery did sell wool socks.
Inland from the Cove, even as near as ten miles, seasons and crops were more predictable. In strawberry season Gloria could count on sweet berries, a plentitude of which she froze for a surprising December treat dressed in Christmas red. It wasn't Camelot - well, certainly not along the coast where there would be no point to rules or edicts about matters which could not be predicted, let alone controlled or legislated. The warmer (though not uncomfortably hot) inland fields and valleys did yield crops that fell way outside agricultural norms. Families out for a weekend drive would comment on the fact of ripe, fresh blueberries or raspberries long after their time was past, shake their heads in grateful wonder and fill up the car, their fingertips stained, with thanks to the fruit stand's generous sample policy.
Mrs. Fergus, whose name was Belinda and who gave a roaring stink eye to anyone calling her Mrs. Fergus or Mrs. Anything, was content with the best of both worlds or climate zones. Her bees and honey flourished inland as, it seemed, did every living thing, and her heart did a welcome home dance when she was at the coast, sifting through her van contents for clothing of the proper weight for whatever the old gods of the sea had decreed that day. She had, as had the entire population of Billington's Cove and environs, noticed The Reading Man and, being attuned to weather for her own reasons, noticed how he seemed to know before the others what appropriate attire would be for a day or day-part. Belinda, as subtly and inconspicuously as possible, watched him seem to commune with the sky, take barometric readings with nasal inhalations while scouting the horizon, which is not the showy behavior it sounds but purely organic acts, the way a flower may turn to face the sun.