Rising before the waterfront is a summer estate, reminiscent of Edith Wharton’s summer home. (The well-to-do certainly know how to make a summer showing.) The flowers in here are more cultivated, more perfectly formed – a contrast with the wilder cyclamen and seven sons’ flower I’d stumbled upon earlier. I’m not sure which I prefer. Inside, such boldness is necessary to compete with other man-made ornaments, the colors must be stronger to stand on their own against paint and fabric and dyed rugs.
A bouquet of dahlias does the trick nicely, stealing the focus of the entry way, bold of hue and radial of form.
The house is pleasantly cool, even in the summer sun. I suppose that’s the point of summer homes. With its tall windows, it is bright too. That’s not something that can be said for all houses in the summer – too often they turn dark and moody, smoldering in dusty shadow or stifling with stagnant heat. Here, however, the home works to augment the beauty with its formality and space, casting a spell of order unto the objects at hand. It frames the outside view, reordering things and narrowing the scope of the scene, distilling it into its very best vista.
It is easy to imagine being happy when surrounded by such beauty, and it is tempting to believe such happiness exists for everyone other than yourself. At least, it’s been easy for me to imagine that. I always do. That’s ok, though. In the midst of that beauty, everything is all right.
After pausing for a moment inside, the edge of the woods beckoned again, and back within the green curtains of foliage there were jewels lining the soft spongy floor, and they were my favorite portion of a walk overflowing with sensory delights: cyclamen. As luck would have it, their late-season blooming cycle was at its zenith. I’ve tried growing cyclamen in the garden, but the relatively dry summers they enjoy are hit-or-miss, and it seems we’ve always erred on the latter, with our wet and humid patterns. I got blooms once, and that was it. Here, they appeared to grow around every corner – bright spots of pink or white floating like flocks of butterflies low to the ground. It was absolutely enchanting, and I knelt beside them, lost in their charm, trying to capture their beauty for the chill ahead.
The path led beside the water of the Sound for a while, before returning to the enclosed protection of the forest. A few stray rhododendron and azalea blooms dotted the way, but their main season had long since passed. It would be a wonderful place to revisit in the spring.
As I made my way along the path, the trees parted again, revealing a little pond and a Japanese garden.
A teahouse was nestled into the environs, a place where one could easily envision a peaceful life, a tranquil existence. A moment of meditation honored the lovely landscape.
Stands of Japanese anemone punctuated the greens and browns with their pink blossoms, centered with eyes of bright gold.
And still more cyclamen, daintily scattering their softer hues along the decomposing carpet.
Near the end of the journey, a formal reflecting pool caught the trees and the sky and the beauty of the sunlit day like a mirror, doubling the image with underwater accents of bright green algae. It was an appropriate and symbolic time for reflection, and I sat on a bench and once again wondered at the perfection of the world, especially of nature, when left to its own devices.
Yet the ferry would wait for no man, and I needed to return to the water. My chariot would not turn into a pumpkin, but nor would it wait for a straggler.
Up next: watching the whales…Back to Blog