Monday, July 5, 2010
My grandfather died fifty years ago on the fifth of July. He was teeing off on the golf course after having staged the annual fireworks display the night before for all the grandchildren. We had a lot of visitors this weekend, many in large families who had come before and came with picnic lunches. About a dozen young people with Outward Bound spent the night in the cove after visiting the island on Saturday. Sunday morning they called to see if they could work on the island doing any projects. They don’t use power tools so we dingied them to shore and supplied them with every weed cutting hand tool I could find in the Whistle House and the Donkey House. They did a great job of clearing vegetation around the base of the Boat House, the Donkey House, the Outhouse and the base supports for the tram. Dave Power will be very surprised. They even went out on the Cove Trail and found the clearing with the picnic table. There was a path cleared there but the picnic table had become almost overgrown. But the grass was tamed for a big enough area around it now that someone could actually sit there and have a picnic. Further on the trail you can look back for a nice view up the hill of the tram.
There were probably three dozen people who came on two boats to watch the fireworks last night. And then a family with children came later. Everyone had a great time. It seemed to be a very civilized crowd; everyone knew the names of the communities where you could see different displays. I only had to play bad cop twice: once when someone wanted to go past the authorized catwalk at the top of the lighthouse and another time as a group of folks were about to set off something and I had to assert my authority and explain that there were no fires on the island. Ethan thought it was good I’d done this as well because you wouldn’t want to attract that kind of attention from the mainland. Any fire here, which can only take place on the beach, must be permitted through the proper channels so that no one is alarmed by seeing smoke.
Many people came to visit today while Chris and Amy and Dee explored the entire North Trail. There was a little girl whose brother and father had gone up to the top of the lighthouse but every time she tried to she got so afraid that she cried and cried, upset with herself that she couldn’t do it. So they let it be and didn’t push it, although she was so distraught. France gave her a lemon lollipop, which stopped the tears briefly. Later she came back with her mom and I told her the story of the three girls her age, who had arrived the night before with the people who had come to watch the fireworks in various communities on the mainland. They managed to climb to the top of the tower to see that last of them and finally I had to tell them that I was going to close the tower and they had to make their way down. They were quite disappointed until they realized that they were the last to leave and then they felt very privileged and special. And the scary part is because you can look through the steps and see down while you climb the spiral staircase. Then I think I quoted Thoreau when he said that every journey begins with a single step and before she knew it, she was at the top. After she saw the light bulb that is the source of the light, we went out on the catwalk and walked around the entire perimeter holding the rail tightly. She didn’t linger but I’m sure it was an achievement she won’t forget. I told her I hoped she’d come back one day. A lot of people do.