Something I saw out my study window this morning startled me deeply. On top of the wooded hill west of the house, craning its neck above the trees, was a huge yellow excavator. It was so visually dramatic, so monster-like, one of my first thoughts was to take a picture. Raising the window wide, though, brought in a gust of wind that blew a stack of papers across the study and into the hall. I quickly closed the window, and the excavator was quickly out of sight behind the trees. In the several hours since, the machine has only shown itself in glimpses. So, for now, no picture to share with you.
Since the hill would be valuable real estate otherwise—from its top you have a wide view of the harbor, the city, and the ocean—I always figured its extensive granite ledge was the thing preventing this. I also thought if it was going to happen, it would have happened by now.
Though I look at it every day and though it’s part of the same woods I’ve walked for years, I’ve only been on that part of the hill once. (It’s far from any path I’ve ever found, and its eastern base abuts houses.) I am fairly sure this is the same hill on which Mason Walton, the hermit of Ravenswood, camped for a time when he first came to Gloucester. (If I remember right, he called it “Eagle’s Aerie” or something like that. I will revisit his biography at the library.) I’ve thought about finding a way back up there countless times; now I’m thinking about doing that even more.
A long time ago a neighbor I don’t know put a lone white chair high up on the side of the hill, facing it toward the harbor and the sea. When the leaves are gone or at least thinner than they are now, I can see the chair from my window. The spot is just below where the excavator has begun its work. I wonder if anyone will sit there again? Maybe the unknown neighbor is the one doing the clearing?
Anyway, I should prepare myself for a change in the view from my writing desk window.