Title blurb

"From one LIGHT come many colors." ~GJ Dürrschmidt

Monday, September 5, 2011

The Hamptons: A Fall Homecoming

The old place looks much the same as the image
I’ve kept in my mind and heart since leaving
for military service several years ago. The giant
maples lining both sides of the road still form a
noble archway to the bay. Cloaked in bountiful
greens weeks earlier, their naked limbs now
cast shivering silhouettes against a gray Long
Island sky.

Like I had remembered, the fallen leaves have
become a patchwork quilt of oranges, yellows,
and browns, now blanketing the yard of the old
homestead. Beyond the pale green house, toward
the inlet, a sea of dry reeds sways to and fro in
the blustery wind gusting inland off the Atlantic.

Occasional surges of fresh, ocean breeze barely
mask the pungent odor of the Moriches bay –
a definite sign of a low tide. The summer renters
and droves of tourists have long since migrated to
their distant winter retreats, leaving behind a
conspicuous absence of noise. 

With the welcomed silence, returns the rhythm of
pounding surf in soothing whispers across the bay.
As daylight ebbs, I stop to fully absorb all of these
cherished sights, sounds, and smells, as they begin
to tranquilize my body, and lift up my weary soul.

Screeching gulls gracefully glide overhead, all
scavenging for that one last meal before dark, while 
thousands of sparrows and clattering blackbirds
chaotically swarm the barren trees, gathering
for their annual journey south. My own journey
is about to end, as I cross the deserted street,
and brush my way through piles of leaves,
past the pumpkins, and up to the front door.

Light from the television (that I would bet no
one is watching) frolics upon the sheer living room
curtains. Though I have walked through this portal
countless times in years past, the long awaited
anticipation of this moment triggers a surprise rush
of emotion, as I feel the worn doorknob in my hand.           

The sounds of fluttering fowl and rushing wind
cease with the closing of the door. Scents of
autumn leaves and salty sea air quickly yield to
those of aged wood and eucalyptus. The chill that
entered with me, suddenly vanishes into the
warmth of returning childhood memories. 

With my shoes off, I feel the old oil burning furnace
coarsely vibrating the hardwood floor. I surrender
my tired, aching feet to its soothing massage.
Ahead, at the end of the darkened hallway, a thin
frame of light seeps through around the edges
of the warped oak door. This light has a deep,
spiritual quality to it, and rightfully so: it radiates
from the very heart of this place – Mom's kitchen.

My heart beats faster as I near the entrance to
this most holy, sacred chamber. An intoxicating
aroma permeates the air, growing stronger with each
step - pot roast! My mouth begins to water. I can
already taste the savory, tender, beef smothered
in onions, carrots, and potatoes. Only seconds from
now, I will touch the aging hands that prepared it,
and be wrapped once again in an embrace I have
sorely missed for far too long. 

At this very moment, I feel as though a million
miles separate me from the rest of the mad world
and all of its senseless perils. In this place, I know
I am safe from all danger and harm. Tonight, I’ll
finally know peace; for tonight I sleep at home!

~GJ Duerrschmidt

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