As a sparkling, almost balmy Thanksgiving weekend drew to a close, cold air moved in to chill the bones, a reminder that winter is indeed on the way. Daylight comes to an abrupt end by late afternoon now, and the edges of the sky are brushed with the colors of twilight: pale gray, lavender, translucent white. The ocean, too, has lost its summer hue and taken on shades of deep winter gray. The sharp wind off the water invites turned-up collars, thick gloves and warm hats.
An empty shoreline is starkly beautiful for walking along sandy pathways hardened by storm-driven ocean washovers. The Edgartown Light blinks its red beacon, the tall white tower set against an encroaching night sky. Bay scallop shells washed clean by the sea decorate the wrackline, stirring memories of years when children were little and the shells made good ornaments for crooked Christmas trees cut by hand in the woods.
In the near distance, warm yellow light spills from the porch and every window of the Harbor View Hotel. Old-fashioned lamps that were installed a few years ago by a thoughtful, generous neighborhood form a long, elegant line on a harborfront streetscape. Empty now of parked cars and strolling people, North Water street is a scene from Currier and Ives minus the snow. A hardworking gardener at a sprawling, shuttered summer home ends his day with a broom, offering a cheerful greeting to a passerby.
The first wreath of the season has been hung on a door. Tomorrow is December.
And in the waning hours of November, the harbor lights offer a friendly wink and perhaps a solemn nod to the advent of a new season.