For the last few weeks, I have been sitting on the deck watching lobster boats check traps in Cranberry Harbor. Often, I've had yarn in my hands, looking up now and then as sailboats come around Bunker's Ledge or to chat with the kids as they pick blueberries out front- enjoying the moment with them before they dash off in some combination of bike helmet and life jacket.
The days here are perfectly simple and perfectly complete. Each year containing a little bit more of everything from the previous year as the children grow and the island becomes more and more their own. They are of this place in a way that I cannot even begin to understand. But I do try. They are the fifth generation of folk to come to this tiny Maine island, making up a people that are referred to here as the "summer colony". They bike around on roads and wander beaches and play in tide pools that all manner of relation have explored before them. Including, but in no way limited to their papa, their grandmother and their great-grandmother.
I have been visiting this (tiny in size but magnificent in scope) island almost every summer for the last 12 years, arriving initially as Chris's date at his older brother's wedding. I fell in-love with this place hard- not unlike how I fell for the man who brought me here- and both loves have deepened and matured with time and age.
Of course, its all complicated. I was strictly "from away"- even though my kids were not- until perhaps last year, well in to a decade of coming here. I have made it my own no less. Knowing from the start that there was something for me to uncover and explore that is very specific to Maple and Eider and their heritage.
These past few weeks have been this, more of this, as though each year we simply pick up from where we left off the previous year. It has also been, more personally, an unfurling of sorts. The start of this year found me so wound in terms of holding all the pieces of my life together into some rough outline of togetherness and sanity. And it has taken a whole lot of time for me to regroup. Maine has afforded me the luxury of that time. Less hustle. More sitting on the deck and watching the tides. The cluster and jumble of lists and stories, agendas and details, have slowly begun unknotting themselves and loosening their hold- so that they drift apart enough to be distinct or to dissolve entirely.
This is what I know, right now, from a place of less fear and more ease, no hustle and big space:
1. Maple is the best blueberry picker that I know.
2. Chilled white wine, a deck on a summer cottage "down east", and great conversation are all great things individually- together they become something sublime.
3. Teaching yoga classes in a community building called "The Neighborhood House"- for which there is nothing of comparison in the upper midwest- is a singular experience.
4. Hours spent next to or wading around in a tide pool denote a special form of time travel.
5. Talking about Goddess culture while riding bikes past fairie houses to the song of the wood thrush with my own 10yo devi- um, wow.
6. A little boy in a bike helmet playing basketball with a group of island kids. And then soccer. And then basketball.
7. Swimming in the cove with Chris as the tide goes out and enjoying his company more than ever. After all this time.
8. Dinner at the Dock with longtime friends who continue to help me understand the great joy and Grace of family.