First frost signifies a small private party. It is a sigh, a sign of relief that gets lifted like a champagne glass to the close of a long growing season.It was not a hard frost, and it was probably spotty too, here and not there. It did not visit the dahlias, but the shoulders of a yellow tomato are frozen at a paper-thin depth. I bite into a sorbet as only nature could have done it. The tomato is exquisitely sweet. This recipe lasts for a short time: In the morning sun, the trophies quickly turn toward necrosis. Most other plants stand unfazed. The gingko doesn’t drop its cloak.
Sagaponack slipped to fifth in national standings of most expensive house zip code. This, too, set off a small party. Maybe this was why last week felt especially quiet and comfortable, like Sagg used to sound.
From my position, harvesting tomatoes on the western edge of Sagg, I can hear the potato harvest that is under way on the northeastern edge of town. I could tell when my father had reached the end of the field and reversed direction. I could hear the potato trucks as they made their way steadily closer to the storage barn. I could hear the storage crew yell, “Ho, ho, HO!” to the driver who backs up too quickly.
As long as I hear no sharp, crashing sounds and sudden silence from either direction, these are comforting sounds to me, the soundtrack to the agricultural solitude I grew up with.
Even though we have a zip code, we could vanish—just look at Poxabogue, almost gone, reduced to a tick-y park, a cemetery and a road in Sagaponack North, or northern Sagaponack.
I hope that a “Sagaponack” will go on to mean the distance from which a farm tractor can be heard on a quiet day.