Ruth DuPont lives on a corner of Naples I try to avoid.
It’s the corner where I grew up, although it doesn’t look like it did when I was a child. My grandparents’ small Dade Pine home is long gone, replaced by new townhouses. All part of a changing Naples, I know, but a change too close to my own life to simply grin and bear. So I avoid the corner.
After Hurricane Wilma, my wife and I drove around Naples to see the damage. And we drove by my old corner. The new townhouses were untouched, but the mighty banyan tree on the edge of property — the final bit of my family’s old world there — had been dragged down in the fierce winds. This shouldn’t have happened to this tree, I thought. This tree was supposed to outlast us all, keeping watch, keeping record.
A few days later, I went back to photograph the fallen tree. That’s when I met Ruth DuPont. She moved to Naples two years ago, and into the corner townhouse in April. This is the first home the single mother of three daughters has bought all on her own, she says. It was the sunsets that sold her on the place — when she discovered she could see them from every room, DuPont knew she had found her home. It was a little out of her price range, she says, but she stretched so she could have the sunsets.
I understood. Four decades ago, it was the sunsets that sold my grandmother on this corner, too. Through time and season, some things cannot be changed.
Nor, I decided, would they be avoided.