This place of yours has come to represent for us a kind of distillation of late summer as it ought to be. I still remember the adventure of first seeing the great house behind the high hedge, its casual pile of cornices, windows and chimneys (like the architect was daydreaming a little), and then walking the circular staircase to discover which of all these bedrooms are ours!
In my memory, the house is always full of people, a crowd always in the kitchen eating or making plans for eating or cleaning up (or not) after eating, and groups of 3 and 4 on the veranda, and someone playing the piano and singing, and another gang heading off to the beach. New acquaintances, then friends. The house is the necessary shelter and catalyst for this, a mansion not intimidating in the least, that invites you into its refuge for comfortable, even intimate living.
The necessities are all there for summer on this scale--the appliances and cutlery and bathrooms and bedrooms and sitting rooms, the wide lawn and the dramatic downslope to the path to the ocean, the places to sit for eating and talking and drinking and reading. And the house is balanced for grand and very personal moments: wide corridors and nooks and corners, a broad circular staircase but also a narrow back staircase, a dramatic panorama of the island and harbor from the terrace, but also an outdoor shower, casually comfortable chairs and couches and sofas and tables for solitary reading or whole-gang meals and long evenings of talking. But the essence of the house as I experience it is its tone, out of this rich detail, which is a slow symphonic song of well-being in a happy key. Possibly A major?
It is a house that lets you experience small “fixations of happiness” (Bachelard) that become, in memory, our times with you at the end of summer. See you next year.