The Cove Journal
by JoDee Samuelson
It was one of those clear calm evenings when you could feel the temperature dropping as the sun sank below the tree line. We picked all the cucumbers and squash, wrapped a blanket snugly around the climbing tomatoes, and reluctantly went indoors. Time to face the music and start a fire in the woodstove.
Sitting by the stove with a glass of wine felt just right; but a long dark night—one of many to come—was staring us in the face. So we decided to walk up the hill and pay a visit to our hilltop neighbors. They’re the kind of people who love to have friends drop in unannounced, and no matter if it’s day or night you’re always assured of a cup of tea and a freshly baked biscuit or piece of pie, or in our case a slice of gumdrop cake. Hospitality like that is a real gift.
We had a lovely time eating cake, discussing our respective Thanksgiving celebrations, and making plans to start a jigsaw puzzle in the near future. Then we said our good-byes and headed into the night. The moonless sky was filled with stars that clearly spelled out, “There will be a frost tonight.” No matter: we’re used to the changing seasons. We have all the clothes we need to keep warm, we have boxes of our own potatoes in the cellar, and our freezer is full of delicious things to eat. So with flashlight in hand we marched cheerfully down the hill.
But then a coyote howled nearby—although you can’t really call it a howl for it’s more like other-worldly speech. Then other coyotes joined in. Yap yap yap! It sounded like a lot of them. Our pace picked up.
It’s strange how sometimes distances seem so much greater than at other times. We passed Susan’s where here was a light on in the kitchen: that was comforting. But how distant the next house seemed! Still, with every step the coyote chorus receded, and then we were at our neighbor’s barn with its welcoming yard light, and finally we were home. What had we been worried about anyway?
When the sun rose the next morning it was evident that indeed there had been a heavy frost, for every blade of grass was encrusted with a shimmering white coat. Down at the Cove everything was hushed and still. The tide had crept in and out overnight with scarcely a ripple, leaving the sandbars perfectly smooth and pristine. Gulls and crows were carefully examining glistening clumps of rockweeds and kelp fronds scattered on the beach. Some plovers or sandpipers scooted along the tidal pools enjoying the breakfast buffet, and perhaps admiring their own feathery reflection in the tranquil waters.
It had been a clear night and now it was a clear day. The sun’s warmth melted the frost and warmed our hearts, and wild creatures of the darkness seemed very far away.