Ah, the last half of August. It’s just one gorgeous, two-week-long Good-bye.
And what better place to say farewell to Summer than in our neighborhood estate of William Cullen Bryant? William Cullen Bryant. Know him? No, not him; that’s William Jennings Bryant. William Cullen Bryant, for whom our town named its library.
This William Cullen Bryant: November 3, 1794 – June 12, 1878, the American romantic poet, journalist, and long-time editor of the New York Evening Post. He lived in Roslyn from 1843 – 1878, at a place he called Cedarmere.
The house, on a bit of a cliff above a deep cove off of the Long Island Sound, is situated so that the side of the house (the side that houses the library)catches the early evening light. That’s the atmospheric quality that photographers call The Magic Hour.
Which is why these were the only other people at Cedarmere this evening, a 20-something girl, and her mother, and a photographer. I guessed that she was a young chanteuese and they were taking cover shots for her debut CD.
They left the property before 8 o’clock. Which was a shame, because…
…because that’s when the light got really magical.
There is a grist mill on the property, down a bit from the main house, closer to the water. Top Cat wants to petition the county (who owns this whole property) to let him live here. The mill, like the mansion, (if you look closely), is a shambles. Top Cat thinks that if he offers to fix the place up, the county manager will let him live here for free.
Everybody should have a dream.
I must admit. It’s a nice dream.
The county had a dream for Cedarmere, once upon a time.
They kept the house open for watercolor classes in the Summer. And they put one of the Parks Commissioners’ office here.
And, three years ago, they had the great idea of using William Cullen Bryant’s old pear orchard as the centerpiece for an annual Fall Pear Festival.
They thought yeah, that’s what Nassau County needs! An outlet for all that pent-up yearning for pear-flavored fruit! A Fall Pear Festival!!
It lasted one year. And now the house is shut down “until further notice”. The paint is peeling. Some of the windows are boarded up. Teen age boys hang out here, smoking cigars. (Yes. Cigars. Probably Cubans. What can I say? It’s Long Island.)
And this is the only pear I found in the whole orchard. (Pears are supposed to ripen in the Fall. It’s only August. Global warming?)
But the sunset, William Cullen Bryant’s sun set, is as fine as ever.
(Swans. Mother, Father, and three almost full-grown grey ducklings. Who’d a thunk it, on Long Island??)
Ah. A slice of August life.
Catch it, if you can.
P.S. Visit our favorite writer in Buenos Aires, American novelist Donigan Merritt, at his blog at: http://www.doniganmerritt.wordpress.com.