The gentle autumn weather could lull all our Pine Street friends into believing that winter will not come.
But it will, sooner or later. Douglas and Louise have been talking about it since the last winter, with its sudden deluge of snow and lingering months of ice.
Douglas wants to move them to drier, warmer climes, at least for winters. Louise resists: she knows how much Douglas cherishes being close to David and little Penny. “And, to be perfectly honest,” she shares with Franny at lunch one gorgeous sunny day in October, “I have never seen myself as a two-home kind of person, much less a snowbird. It seems so… out of touch with reality.”
“Me too,” Franny responds. “Yet reality changes too, Louise. Our current reality – and our future reality, for sure – will hold more extreme events. Snowstorms, floods, wind. Maybe we are privileged, but hasn’t it always been the case that the privileged use their resources to adapt and survive?”
Louise sighs. “I suppose that’s true. At the same time, I’m not at all sure it’s right.”
They are at a local restaurant that offers a wide, lovely rooftop deck for dining. It’s almost hot up there, even with the filtered sunshine of autumn. The wait staff busy themselves putting up the big black canvas umbrellas to shield diners from direct sun, and refilling tall glasses of ice water.
Franny and Louise look out over the nearby buildings, a view of machines that keep their buildings humming giving way to the surrounding fields and hills. They met for lunch to discuss the plans each are mulling that would take them away from this place, more or less permanently.
In this moment, it is so difficult for either woman to imagine herself anywhere else. The velvety hills, touched with sage green amid milk chocolate brown; the softness of the light; even the awkward metal HVAC machines on dingy rooftops; all seem far too precious, too familiar, to leave behind.