Slowly I tiptoe to the window and take a moment to look out – the winter moon is crisp and bright and almost full, the night is still, even the halyards are sleeping. I glance back to make sure my little brother hasn’t stirred and grab my hat, coat, and gloves, slipping on my boots. I gently kneel on the radiator just below the sill and every so slowly inch the window frame up until I can get a good grip underneath to push it up, just enough for me to slip out into the bushes and ivy that has started to creep up the siding. I then turn around and use the tips of my fingers to pull it back down, leaving a sliver of space for my fingers when I return. I’m out, and I get that usual excited rush.
The neighbors are watching TV, and for a moment, I watch with them through the wall of windows. The sky is so clear, the moon glinting against all the boats; naked masts tall and slender, reflecting a full copy of themselves in the frigid water. I close my eyes and breathe deeply letting the frosty air bite at my insides. It’s cold, I better get moving. The frozen grass crunches as I make my way through the side yard to the water’s edge. A few little ripples grow and then fade into the shadows of the moon. I balance beam along the bulkhead until the end where we keep my brothers green dinghy, “Gargoyle”. I cut through the neighbor’s yard, heading to my spot.
I make my way through s few more neighbors’ yards – I know each house by the animal who lives there that I occasionally care for when the owners are out of town: Milly’s, Teddie’s, and Cookie’s houses. I come upon a gravel driveway with gigantic poplars towering over it like sentinels – the naked branches rustling in a slight breeze, shadows dancing eerily. I climb the ivy covered ridge, rustling through the undergrowth, relying on the sturdy roots as my hand- and foot-holds. I pull myself up to the grassy point, jutting out into the creek and walk down to the very tippy tip of the point that belongs to my dad’s god-mother. My spot. My spot is a place of calm, a piece of peace, a place to just sit and be.
I crouch on the edge where I have a view up and down the creek, the sleepy houses, and sleepy sailboats. There is a distant hum of the high way in the distance on this quiet night. The trees loom dark, but comforting. The lights bob on the boats, starboard shines green, and port glows red. I sing the Girl Scout song “Barges” to myself.
The stars are faint because the moon is so bright. I just let my mind wander to the distant hum and grumble of the high way; the lapping of the water on the hulls of the boats; the halyards awaken, clanking against the masts of the sailboats in the soft chilly breeze that has begun to whisper through the night. I feel so at peace in the cold, quiet night, all alone at my spot.
This is a glimpse of the year and a half my parents and brother and I lived with my grandpa at the boatyard when I was in 6th and 7th grade, before we moved to the house on the hill where my family and I live now. Grandpa graciously opened his home to us and our cats, even though he hadn’t had kids in the house for almost 30 years.