Tuesday, September 7, 2010
It’s the last day. Finally people were able to come to the island yesterday because the ocean had finally calmed to allow access to the cove and Cyndy and Jim, who usually come to work, were both able to come with their daughters simply to enjoy the island. And Connie arrived about the same time with friends Sally and Dan to finally take advantage of the sleepover they missed during the nor’easter. Ethan arrived with a couple of dozen people and several private boats tied up to fill the island once again with activity and appreciation. Our closest neighbors, the Blisses from Salter Island, made a summer visit. It finally seemed like a holiday weekend and sales in the gift shop and tours to the tower were brisk.
The tram went back down the hill in anticipation of Dr. David McHold and his wife arriving with friends Doreen and Jim Dun with a beautiful new teak bench dedicated to their son-in-law Stephen C. Burke who died in a freak accident at age 35. It’s a beautiful addition to the lawn and after discussion, was placed in a lovely spot near the Oil House overlooking Mt. Washington, which you could see today, where Stephen was buried. Visitors soon took advantage of the accommodation and lovers were spotted in an embrace on this fine new seat.
I finally was able to take that walk with Geof that Cyndy has told me about around the shoreline on the northeastern end of the island between Cobblestone Beach and the end of the cove trail out to the tip. It was spectacular and only possible because the havoc on the seas riled by Earl was such that we saw no visitors from Thursday through Sunday. The rock formations on this lowland, a previous meadow where cattle and sheep once grazed, are fascinating, full of iron and schist and great stripes of quartz. We also did the entire lengths of the north and south trails. I’m leaving this island knowing it like the back of my hand. Dee and I will have long evenings this winter under her daylight lamp pretending we’re back here in Maine.
This morning at seven when I went out on the lawn, there were gulls massing in the air on the western edge of the island in a swarm I’d not seen before and it made me think they were preparing to migrate, just as we are. Their broods are able to fend for themselves. We’ve watched them hatch and grow and it’s fitting somehow to me that they are preparing to leave as we do. What we’ve shared on this island paradise will be a memory we won’t forget. What we’ve learned from each other I’m sure will also be very significant in our lives. And Ollie J will somehow have a short life that’s been improved and sustained by France’s nursing and loving care. Maybe Tim and Lynne can take on the watchful care and enable him to have a few more weeks here in the place he was born.
France finished one of her summer projects, which she has hung on the window of the front door of the keepers quarters. She’s done a beautiful job.
While guiding a tour of the tower yesterday, I got the call from the Black Diamond to set up our meeting for lobster. Jackson said because he’d left the keeper box tied to a mooring, he could just fill it with our order which for last night, the six of us, was a dozen of his finest from the waters around Seguin. On lobster day, I usually put on the water to boil in the big lobster pot covering two burners on the stove, run down to the cove and pull the dingy off the rocks and row out to the keeper with a tall ten gallon pail, and fill it with the contents. There they were, banded and fresh from the sea. By the time I get back up top, the water is steaming and in they go.
In the case of last night, the evening panned out a little differently. We’d just gotten Jim and Cyndy and the girls down the tram with picnic coolers and bags and out in Jim’s boat after a beautiful sunny Labor Day. All the visitors had left. Back up the hill with my pail of twelve lobsters, dinner seemed like a long way off and frankly I couldn’t see how it would be possible. Everyone pitched in. Dan had brought Sockeye salmon from Alaska and Connie made her lemon cake. Sally brought potato salad and Lucia and France arranged glasses and chairs and trays. In no time we were ensconced on the porch with salmon on cream cheese and crackers with fresh basil. We went through a lot of beer and a couple of bottles of wine and a few other party favors before anyone thought to start dinner. I’d always wondered why there were no wine glasses in this kitchen. We picked up six this summer but broke the last one in the revelry of last night. I turned in by eleven so I could be out here now writing this, after already baking another batch of blueberry muffins, but the revelers were up until one walking the catwalk in the windy tower and drifting over the lawn under the canopy of light which is Sequin.