Tuesday, June 05, 2012
Tillerwoman always wanted a view.
When we were house-hunting back in 2007, one of her requirements was a view.
We didn't realistically expect to find a house that satisfied all of our other requirements and also had a view quite as good as the one we ended up with. We got lucky. The residents and guests at the Tillercottage enjoy a wide panoramic view to the west across Mount Hope Bay.
And sunsets to die for.
Actually it may not really be west. More on this later.
We've never lived in a house before that had such an uninterrupted view of the western horizon. Once you start watching the sunsets every evening, you start to appreciate why those ancient dudes who built Stonehenge (and all the other "henges") were so interested in how the position of the setting and rising sun changes with the seasons. I kind of knew the theory in an intellectual way before, but you never really feel it in your guts until you have watched the sunsets every day for a year or so.
We moved into the house in late May and for the next few weeks of summer watched the sun set almost directly in front of the house, over the small hill in Bristol known as Mount Hope. Then as the season changed to autumn and winter, the sunsets moved to the south (the left) until they eventually disappeared behind those trees in the top photo. We could still see the sunsets if we walked up the road a bit, only now the setting sun was over Mount Hope Bridge and the Eastern Passage of Narragansett Bay.
As spring came in 2008, the sunsets reappeared into view and moved further and further to the right very day. I started thinking about exactly what compass bearing the sunsets would be at different times of the year. I guess I had never really internalized the fact that the sunsets would be due west at the time of the equinoxes. I consulted a chart and realized that, by some fortuitous coincidence, our house was due east of the northernmost tip of Aquidneck Island. (Newport is at the southern end of the that island.) That northern tip, known as Common Fence Point, can be seen as that narrow spit of land poking out of the trees on the left of the top photo. Sure enough, around March 21 the sun set over that point of land.
So our house doesn't really face west. It faces somewhat north of west. Right in front of us, poking up over Mount Hope, is a water tower which is situated somewhere in the town of Bristol. It's roundish. We took to referring to it as "the ball." And we started tracking the sunset's progress relative to the ball.
"It's way to the left of the ball this week."
"It's getting closer to the ball."
"I think it will set just left of the ball tonight."
Last week, on the last day of May, I took the photo below of the sunset.
You can see "the ball."
The sunset is now to the right of the ball.
Summer has arrived.
Come on down.