I’m sure I’m not alone in rejoicing once a year on “Reclamation Day” – that long-anticipated day when my last tenants of the season have departed and my beloved home is once again MINE.
No more worries about “Has the house run out of toilet paper or soap?!” or “Are the next guests going to be happy and write a glowing guest review?” And, more importantly, at least in my case, “Is the poor, ol’ (60-year-old) house going to hold up through another season without a leaking faucet, an appliance breaking, a water pump tank exploding, or the septic backing up?” (Yes, I’ve had each of those happen on occasion over the past 40 years of renting the house. And, yes, inevitably each incident waiting until after the rental season has begun, of course!)
The older I get, the more relieved I am to have weathered another rental season.
But the feelings are bittersweet, too. For most of us, the end of our hosting season also means the end of the summer season on the Cape and Islands. In my case, it’s a time to steal a few, cherished weekends in my Happy Place – without the anxieties of preparing the house for rental that dog each visit here in the spring. But before I know it, the nights are getting cool, and it’s time to close up the house for the long winter.
So it’s a time of celebration and relief, but also a time of sadness and regret that another treasured summer season has flown by, and I’ll have only memories of my Happy Place to sustain me until next spring.
I am reminded of Edgar Allan Poe’s “A Dream Within a Dream,” in which he writes:
“I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand —
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep“
Poignant memories of cookouts with our grown children – back with us from afar to what is their Happy Place, too – are like those grains of golden sand slipping through my fingers to the deep. The inexorable passage of time.
But from now until next summer, minus the long winter in between, my beloved Vineyard home is mine. And I treasure every moment I am here and able to enjoy it before, once again, having to share it with others.
Are you rejoicing that the summer season is over? If so, do you also regret that it is?