Friday, June 26, 2009

Summer Place

I am back in Cape Cod for the weekend. Eric has been working at the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole for five summers. He stays for eight or more weeks and I try to visit him for long weekends. For the first two years, Eric arranged for very special visits for Maya and I. We would stay at wonderful Bed and Breakfast inns and sailed and biked and took the ferry to Martha's Vineyard and visited the beach. Tara was always busy with other summer travels and projects. She came the third year when Eric had a large cabin with more than enough room for us. My nephew Edouard stayed with Eric for several weeks as well. Maya loved fishing and biking best, and we rode to Falmouth and to town regularly, and took the ferry to Martha's Vineyard for more biking. Tara was not at all enthused with the place and was uninterested in visiting more than the one time. We had the same cabin last year, and each year we have had more time with Eric. He is busy with his work in the course he teaches and until this year, he has had projects going on in his lab as well. He usually brings all his fish and his equipment from Johns Hopkins, and for the two months here, he is in science heaven. The town of Woods Hole is brimming with PHDs and students and when Maya and I are not here, Eric spends all his time working in the lab or with his students.

This year, Maya and I will be here each weekend while Eric is working, and will spend a week or so here when ballet camp is over. I wonder why I have not spent more time here. I find it absolutely lovely and relaxing, and when here, I can forget about the office and everything I feel pressured to do in Baltimore and I can simply play each day with Maya. The weather is often rainy and stormy, so the beach is not always an option. Maya loves to fish, so we will be fishing. We have bikes for all of us, so if the rain stops, we will be biking tomorrow.

I have celebrated my birthday here most years, since July 16 is always in the middle of Eric's summer program. Last year we sailed in Boston harbour with Monica and Thierry. Tara was acting at a rep theatre in Princeton last summer, so most of my weekends were spent in Princeton to see her on stage. She took the bus from New York to celebrate with us. The year before, just Eric and Maya organized a 'spa day' in Falmouth, when I had a top to toe indulgent extravaganza to start my year fresh and clean and energized. The year before that, we sailed out of Chatham with a very colourful character, and Maya was able to steer the boat and go fishing for 'bluefish'. Eric remembers that the year before that was a spa day too, and I cannot remember what we did the year before. So Woods Hole has been my birthday place for years now. I turn a year older whenever I visit Woods Hole.

My 'summer place' used to be my sister's home in Tuscany. From the time that Tara was a few months old, we would return every summer and occasionally in the fall, and when Maya was born, we continued, until Poggio Ventoso was sold five years ago. It was in Poggio Ventoso that I would celebrate all my birthdays, that I would often connect with family, with my sisters, with my parents. I was at a loss when we could no longer plan our summers around Italy and the Maremma. The year we lost Poggio Ventoso happened to be the year that Eric started working at Woods Hole but it took several years until I realized that it had become our 'summer place'. I lamented the loss of Poggio Ventoso and was not ready to replace Tuscany with Cape Cod. Meanwhile Eric could not understand why I was less enthusiastic than he about Woods Hole. I was mourning Italy and the experiences we had had there and was not ready to move on. I find myself resistant to change at every turn! But over the years, Cape Cod has grown on me. My first impressions of the area were very positive, and I have had repeated wonderful experiences, so I do understand his delight in the place. I am now equally enthusiastic, and look forward to calling Woods Hole our 'summer place'.

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