Friday, April 16, 2010


Oh, dear ... it's gray today. I'd almost forgotten about gray. It certainly wasn't gray the other day when I rode my bike out to Castle Hill, where the chairs (and the whole general scene) were ... well .... empty. What else to expect mid-week in mid-April?? It was a beautiful emptiness, of course, being Castle Hill ... almost as if I could paint-in the figures that should be there, would be there, in another season, under different circumstances. And, as I stood there, panning the scene from left to right, really soaking it up or breathing it in, as they say (though I always want to know who "they" are), it occurred to me that I'd never been to the lighthouse.

I've seen Castle Hill Light countless times from assorted vantage points, usually the water side or the other side, being the Jamestown side (that being Horsehead Mansion across the way) or on a postcard, but I'd never actually stood there. At the lighthouse, I mean. So I locked my bike to a tree — I wasn't too worried, but it'd be a long walk home — and headed down a narrow wood-chipped path that looked as if it went in the right direction. Technically, I think, the path is for guests of Castle Hill Inn & Resort, and perhaps there are other/better routes to the lighthouse, but given it was an off-season weekday, I figured (perhaps wrongly) that it/I was okay.

Anyway, walking down the path, the first sight I encountered was ... more chairs. Empty chairs, weathered chairs, inviting chairs (even more inviting to me than the perfect white ones back on the lawn), but I didn't sit down. I kept walking, until I found ... um ... more chairs. But still I didn't sit down, because there at the bottom of what looked and felt like the loveliest-imaginable country lane sloping down between evergreen and still-brown-but-soon-to-be-green trees toward the sparkly-blue of the familiar bay was ... the lighthouse.

As with many things, it's BIGGER up close. It felt strange to be above it. And, to top it all off, to the right of the lighthouse, there were ... you guessed it ... more chairs. With people in them. People who spoke to me. Now this is a really jerky thing to do, having brought you with me this far (if you're still here), and having every intention of sharing what the people seated in the chairs to the right (or starboard) of the lighthouse said to me — not that it's anything fascinating or particularly worthy of sharing. But I have a busy day ahead, and I've really got to fly, seagull pun not intended, so I'm going to say, please forgive me: To Be Continued ...

I do feel badly about mentioning without substantiating Horsehead Mansion (and about strolling down a path where I didn't belong, let alone flying off without finishing what I started), but if you click here and scroll down through the biography of James Wharton to the section entitled "Summers," it's pretty interesting. And while I'm at it, pointing stuff out, another thing that's right across the way is Fort Wetherill, where kids — Super Son among them — sometimes enjoy jumping off the rocks into the bay. It's not a good idea, not to be encouraged, and it occurs to me that I hadn't mentioned Super Son to this point. He's the counterpart to Darling Daughter, though neither of them is home any longer, thus (I guess) my fixation on empty chairs ...