Stillness after the storm

Calm has returned. I am by myself. Axel has his weekly ‘lads’ get together, sort of a men’s group that occasionally allows women – when they drop their men off or some festivity, like a harvest moon or an abundant mussel and oyster harvest. I am glad he has this – men are not naturally good at deep friendships in that phase of their lives when their women do – because of children and juggling professional and domestic careers. Now appears to be the time to catch up.

I have a thousand things to write about, because for the first time in a week there is this stillness around the house. It’s a precious stillness that returned after Tessa’s 30 hour party where some 50 (60? 100?) young people invade Lobster Cove for a 30 hour birthday bash, Tessa’s 28th.

Everything was taken over by food, drink, tents, ashtrays (this generation smokes like there is no tomorrow), and the headphones that come along with the silent disco. This year I never made it the start of the silent disco. I retreated into the only room that was invasion-proof, our bedroom.

I think I was asleep before 9 only to be woken up by the fireworks. In hindsight we didn’t think mixing vodka and fireworks was such a good idea, nor did one of our neighbors think so. This may be on constraint we may put on next years’ festivities.

Unfortunately I also did not see the dozens of large (2 feet tall) paper lanterns that are propelled by a flame and drift off into the atmosphere or far out to sea. One neighbor who monitors the police scanner told us that several Manchester citizens reported seeing UFOs. He showed me the pictures he took from the roof. I would have believed in UFOs myself.

When I woke up at 6 AM on the morning after the party the last people had just gone to sleep. Some sprawled on our large Afghan pillows in my office, some in half a dozen tents perched along the perimeter of our land, some intertwined on quilts on the grass, some on sitting places in our living room not meant for sleeping, one in a hammock that wasn’t his own, leaving its owner to seek out our couch. There were two young men sleeping in regular lawn chairs, looking much like economy class travelers, awkward but too tired to mind.

And everywhere the debris of partying – paper plates and plastic utensils, half eaten food, warm watermelon, fruit mixed with ashes and limp potato chips, Hershey bars left over from the s’mores prepared over the campfire at the beach, already melted in the early morning heat; and then there were the empty kegs, the empty bottles, the empty plastic cups and other substances that are not really good for young minds.

And then, one by one, stirrings left and right, tent zippers opening, couches being evacuated. The revelers woke up (around midday and some mid afternoon), wanting coffee but too tired to drive to Dunkin Donuts to get some. So they helped themselves to bloody Mary’s instead, accompanied by stale bagels and cream cheese from small containers. Some left because they have jobs or other social obligations, other stayed until a hastily ordered pizza delivery at the end of the day, making it a 24 hour party for some of them, a 30 hour party for others. Tessa stayed one more night to put the final touches on the clean up on Monday. One year from now everything starts all over again. Our trampled lawn has a year to recover. We know it will.

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