Anchors Aweigh

The time has come for me to move on, in more ways than one. No, I’m not leaving the magazine. Heaven forbid. But I am leaving this splendid little place on Reed Creek, and I am, beginning next month, turning over this space in the magazine to Wendy Clarke, my talented executive editor.

The latter I do cheerfully, or at least without misgivings. Granted, for some time I will mourn the loss of this great privilege, this direct connection with you, the readers. But with my attention now divided among three magazines (we also publish Offshore magazine in New England and, of course, Chesapeake Travel & Leisure), I think you will be better served here by the indomitable and entertaining Ms. Clarke.

I can’t be quite so cavalier, however, about the other pending transition—leaving Reed Creek. You certainly can’t blame the owners for wanting the cottage back, for wanting to spend more time in this serene little corner of Valhalla. It’s their place, after all, and they have every right to occupy it—even if it means throwing me and my poor helpless cats out into the cold, where, for all they know, we’ll have to get by eating nuts and berries and roasted mice, or raw mice if we can’t find a place dry enough to build a fire, but more likely we’ll freeze to death and they’ll find our stiff, emaciated corpses jutting from the melting tundra in the spring, and won’t they be sorry then.

Okay. Deep breath. . . . I promised myself I wouldn’t get all worked up about this. The fact is, I can stay here until spring if I want to. But that makes no sense. This place may be nirvana in the warm weather, but it’s damned uncomfortable in the wintertime. So I’ll leave now, before the triple-digit space-heater bills kick in. (If you own stock in Conectiv Power, sell it now; with my space heaters turned off, the company is facing heavy first-quarter losses.) I’ll leave now, while the floor is cold and the dock is empty and the leaves are brown. If I wait until spring, it’s much less likely that I will leave peacefully. It might get ugly—even uglier than the clumsy pity-mongering of the previous paragraph. I see myself begging and pleading. I see myself clinging to the deck railing, ranting hysterically and kicking at sheriff’s deputies who are only trying to enforce a court order.

Yes, it’s far better that I leave now, while the weather supports the delusion that this is not a pleasant place. It is a pleasant place, of course, even in the winter—as long as you dress accordingly. Indeed, “pleasant” hardly does it justice. All clowning aside, I will tell you simply that it is the loveliest place I’ve ever lived. I have been fortunate beyond measure to spend my days here, however temporarily.

And I will be luckier still if I can always close my eyes and see, as I’m seeing now, the reedgrass swaying in the breeze, dancing for me, and the great broad creek sweeping past, rippled and glistening, calling over its shoulder to me as it turns and runs away to the river.

Good-bye for now.

Tim Sayles, Editor