20 December 2013


I fell asleep before take off but woke before landing. I opened the blind and had missed the the southern coast of Greenland but saw the icy stretches of Northern Quebec far below. Over Massachusetts, I looked out again but we were too far inland to see Boston. An hour or so later I saw the the vast jagged opening of the Chesapeake Bay and remembered summers long gone and mountains of spiced crabs, mallets and tablecloths made from old newspapers. South of Georgia, tracing the Florida coast, the sun started setting, throwing sharp contrast on the small cotton ball clouds hovering over the water below.


There were scores of cops waiting for my flight when it landed. I never found out what for. I had to make my connection.


I got home and drank a few beers, re familiarised myself with the house. It's my only address in the States but I've not been here in nine years. Since I started this blog.


Jet lag woke me up early, before the sun. I listened to the roosters herald the new day and looked at the stars for awhile. When the light came I went out to grab a coffee from 5 Brothers and wandered the streets of old town. I took pictures of old cars and tree roots. I walked by the cemetery, the graves like tower blocks of the the dead. It's not high enough here to bury folks, so they stack them. Unsurprisingly, cremation is quite popular these days.


It was already hot. I finished the strong Cuban coffee and went out again to grab a croissant. A couple in the café split a bottle of red while their happy young child munched a morning pastry. It was 930 in the morning. The girl behind the counter gave me a local discount and I gave her a tip. I walked around the block, up to Whitehead and the lighthouse, past Hemingway's house. It's a beautiful house. I looked in the gate and promised myself I'd do the tour again this year. It's quite a thing, living around the corner from that house.


The sun was in and out from the clouds. I got home and ate. Some leaves and flowers swirled about in the pool and I thought for a moment I might skim it. I would. But later.

16 December 2013

white noise

There's a skylight at the top of the staircase outside my room. It's domed. Most of the time I forget it's there. There's a ghostly pall of daylight that reaches down the stairs, but the glass is pretty much opaque. Aside from letting in a little more light, it's nothing particularly special. Until it rains.

It has great acoustics, and the drumming patter of rain drops on it has become an unexpected comfort. It's like the sound of rain in a movie. A foley artist special. Even the softest of showers seems more intense. More there. It sometimes wakes me up, if it's heavy enough, and I'll lift myself from my pillow and look towards the stairs and listen before checking and making sure I didn't leave the door open to the wet. If it's raining when I go to bed, it becomes my counting of sheep. Listening to the wee, echoing thuds of thousands of rain drops sends me straight to dreamland. Sometimes too quickly.

I dated a girl, for too short a time, who couldn't sleep without some form of white noise. One of the first nights we shared a bed, she fumbled on her laptop for a few minutes, apologising profusely, looking for streaming sounds of rain or whales or surf. I was fine with it. She was beautiful.

This morning, in the wee hours, I woke to the drums. Or maybe it was a machine gun. A downpour. I lay there in bed and saw that it had woken the cat up too. I listened to those quick thuds as they echoed down the stairs. Behind the sound of the rain howled the wind, and the creaking branches of the willows that stand alongside the river. A before dawn chorus, it raged, and the cat drew close and huddled under my arm. We listened. And just as it had woken me up, it put me back to sleep again.