Last night I sat beneath a cloudy sky wrapped in a snug blanket until my nose got too cold. I’ve been working on material about my dad’s family, compiling quite a lot of detail to verify when I get to New York. I want to go back to a website I found to do some more digging and verifying especially about immigration. It’s so difficult to pin down which of the dozens of Dentes sailing back and forth out of Naples are my ancestors, but it’s exciting to be pulled into the facts and to sense that I may be able to form a true backbone of our family story. When I weave it in with my memories, and the stories from my cousins Charlie, and the details gleaned from photographs and visits to Mt. Kisco, I can almost see it taking shape. I should look for a residency in New York to make it happen!

The sky is hurtling fistfuls of rain at the cabin. It clatters against the windows like gravel. The trees jerk and twitch as if trying to yank themselves out by the roots and run away. The clouds are descending, turning the day purple, and the forecasts call for an inch or more of snow and heavy winds. The wind already is strong enough to clang even the largest of the Indian copper bells I hung yesterday, and the chimney smoke escapes to cling to the ground, a blanket beneath the whipping air. The juncos are quite bossy at the feeders, so the nuthatches sneak in mostly when they’re away, but the purple finches and some of the sparrows have begun to appear in response to the new seed, undeterred by the juncos.

It’s thrilling to have a place to live that allows me to find the core from which my good writing will flow. Thank heaven for nature! Amid the constancy of wind and rain, I am immersing myself in writing about the late 1800s immigrant experience in the United States as I begin to draft something about Silvestro and Angelo’s arrival. I increasingly feel that time in NY, and especially in Mt. Kisco, is vital to this project. I hope to find images of these relatives or at least sufficient information to allow me to see and hear them and tell their stories. I know that Silvestro was literate, and they chose to settle outside The City, with whatever implications that holds.

Photo by Simon Berger on Unsplash

April 17, 2011

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