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The Mast-Head: Early Mornings

Wed, 06/02/2021 - 19:21

Lately I have been leaving the house early to get to the office by 6 to write before the distractions of the day begin. Jane Bimson, who works here, is also an early riser, going to the ocean beach with her Jack Russell terrier, Archie, in time for the sunrise. Many mornings, we compare notes, my view, as I make coffee before I go, to the north and east, hers to the east and south. The dawn colors have been good this spring.

Few cars are on Montauk Highway at this hour, so I can drive the seven or so miles between the house and work watching out only for deer, but even they seem scarce. I move through the pink and luminous light as I pass Brent’s Store in Amagansett. An 18-wheel trash hauler waits at the Abraham’s Path light to make a right, giving me time to pass before pulling out to head west to dump its load. Nothing happens between there and Pantigo Road. Outside the post office, a town police officer is getting back into a cruiser; maybe he has just mailed a letter, a bill payment, perhaps.

The chairs are up on the tables still at the Golden Pear as I stop to put a stack of East magazines in a rack. John Papas has not opened yet; I tidy up the rack by the door where the magazines go and leave a few more Easts. If I let my mind wander, I can pretend for a moment that it is years ago, when I was in grade school here and a gang of us would walk to Tony’s Sport Shop every day to eat our lunch. It wasn’t quite Saturday Evening Post cover material but it was close.

Memorial Day, too, was one of those instances that I might imagine that things were the way they were when I was young. The village police stopped traffic a bit before 10 that morning, directing it down Dunemere Lane. The normal hiss of tires on pavement and trucks working loudly through their gears went away for a time. It reminded me of when my grandmother would have me stay the night at the house on Edwards Lane, and I would notice how quiet it was as she served me a Dreesen’s hamburger at the dining room table. There were no jets then passing overhead, and we could hear the scratchy recorded bells from the Presbyterian Church, the song not covered up by the sounds of anything else.

But by 7 the trucks are rumbling up Main Street again and my reverie comes to an end.

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