It was late Sunday afternoon on our most recent weekend at the Manse. It had been a weekend of unsettled weather: cloudy and rainy, but every now and again the sun would try, really try, to break through, and sometimes it even succeeded, but only for a few moments at a time. We had had a busy two days of errands and seeing people and getting stuff done.
I came out onto the front porch of the Manse to do one last chore, some cleaning-up-the-garden work, while there was still some afternoon light coming down from the grey and cloudy sky. And suddenly, off in the near distance – not right over the Manse, but just a few hundred yards away – the late-afternoon sun really did break through. And the glow it cast on the last of the bright-coloured autumn leaves, against the dark and lowering sky that was still in the background, was like – well, I don’t have the words, but Al Purdy does: “where a man might have some/opinion of what beauty/is and none deny him/for miles…”
I grabbed my trusty camera (which is in fact my old-model iPhone) and headed off for a walk around the single block that makes up downtown (and some of the suburbs) of tiny Queensborough, because it was at the far end of the block from the Manse that the late-autumn show was taking place. Here’s what I saw:
So then I continued around the block – a route I have covered hundreds, if not thousands, of times thanks to the 11 years I spent in Queensborough as a kid growing up at the Manse. In just a twinkling the sun had gone, and with it the spectacular light show. Now it was just a darkening and raw fall evening, a tiny bit too early for people to turn the house lights on. It was the time of day and the time of week and the time of year when you feel just a bit lonely, and in need of warmth and comfort.
I think this pussy cat, who was hanging about the lingering ruins of the fine old brick house that burned to the ground last spring, felt lonely too. It seemed pleased that I stopped and paid some attention and took its picture:
And then the lights of our little village began to come on.
And best of all were the welcoming lights of the Manse, shining brightly:
And then something better still! The sight of Raymond in the Manse’s cozy little pantry, making Ray’s Famous Spaghetti Sauce.
Is there anything more welcoming, when you have been outdoors for quite a while on a raw autumn evening, than the lights of home? And the sure knowledge that when you cross its threshold you will be greeted with warmth and love and the good smell of supper?
I think not.