Friday, July 9, 2010

Back to the Island


If once you have slept on an island
You'll never be quite the same;
You may look as you looked the day before
And go by the same old name,

You may bustle about in street and shop
You may sit at home and sew,
But you'll see blue water and wheeling gulls
Wherever your feet may go.

You may chat with the neighbors of this and that
And close to your fire keep,
But you'll hear ship whistle and lighthouse bell
And tides beat through your sleep.

Oh! you won't know why and you can't say how
Such a change upon you came,
But once you have slept on an island,
You'll never be quite the same.


"If Once You Have Slept On An Island" - Rachel Field
 
I am returned from my annual pilgrimage to Great Chebeague. I partook in island rituals generations old. I could be depended upon to run up to Ed's each morning for the papers and whatever provisions were needed to see us through the day. I practiced the Chebeague Wave, that acknowledgement of casually lifted fingers off the steering column as one passed fellow motorists on the rough roads. I dug for mussels off Hayden's Beach. I discovered a trick to calm my suicidal brain when addressing the ball at Great Chebeague Golf Club. And I cooked for the sheer pleasure of making others happy. It was a sublime visit, the best in eight years of summering there.
 
World Cup at the Rí RáChandler's Cove welcoming party
I had two greetings upon arriving. The first was on the waterfront at the Rí Rá. It was World Cup season again, and my favorite pub promised plenty of big screen entertainment and perfect Guinness draughts. Over a pint or two (or three), I caught a couple of really good matches there. The second greeting was a welcoming party - Old Thumper in hand - at Chandler's Landing as the ferry delivered me to the island.
 
Stone WharfHayden's Beach
Busy bumble beeIsland garden
Except for one sweltering day, the weather was perfect. Warm sunny days, cool breezy nights. There was even one 15-minute cloudburst causing us to dash shrieking indoors one morning.
 
Maine lobsterWild mussels
A skol for health and long lifeThe old lobster pot
A room with a viewWelcome to our table
Of course there was seafood, good cheer, and scenery for days.
 
Webb Cottage idylThe fog moves in
My mood always seemed to mimic that of the Island's.
 
Blue China spheres
By the end, I was in a Zen-like state of stillness. A leaf on the wind. A ripple in a pond. A footprint in the sand. You get the idea.
 
And naturally, there was cooking. Lots and lots of cooking. But that's a story for another day.
 
 
Thanks for taking the time - Blog O. Food
 
 

1 comment:

Nicole said...

Hooray you are back in action. Looks like a great trip... I want some of all of that! Glad you had a great 4th.
Hope you are doing Ok with all the heat!