Talya and I and the kids went down to Windrock this past weekend for the start of the annual "Cousins Week", where appearances are expected in the following days of virtually all of my maternal aunts, uncles, 1st cousins (and those once removed), along with their spouses, significant others and more distant relations. The children will remain for the duration under the benign eye of the grandparents, but work and other realities have called me back to the Litchfield Hills for the intervening week. We will head back on Friday and take a less frenetic vacation on into the following week with a smaller contingent of family after the regular gathering disperses.
There are now more 1st and 2nd cousins in evidence in Emily and Elias's generation than in my own, ranging in ages from 14 to 2. Most of them are able to range in feral packs about the grounds and woodlands without significant threat to life and limb. In yesterday's downpours the big house became quite congested, but even so there were sodden, wooden-sword wielding gangs tromping out into the rain and musicians jamming on the gray porch. The cluster of tents, including one I have borrowed from my regiment for reenacting purposes but which made an excellent place to change clothing in a vertical posture, only added to the overall feel of Woodstock-by-the-Sea.
The waves and wind were high on Saturday, and I went out for a high speed sail with my cousin Than in a small Laser that put us through our paces as we raced from crest to trough.
This was Talya's first time meeting many of the family - her "outlaws", if you will, and felt most welcome. This is the one time aside from weddings and funerals that we all have a chance to see each other, and sometimes the only time we get to connect at all. While it can be both overwhelming and chaotic, it is a gathering none would want to miss, at least for a few days. There is much still that I hope to do when we return this weekend, including digging for quahogs and singing all the old favorites and some of the new, if they are not all sung out by then.
In all the getting back to the garden going on at Windrock it was fitting that a serpent made an appearance. I found a black racer basking on a brush pile just over the embankment, a snake I remember finding occasionally during my childhood but have not come across on the property since then, though they certainly must be around. There were Ospreys crying at dawn and gulls hanging on the wind above the bluff.