Friday, September 10, 2010
I sat on the porch in front of the museum at 6:45AM on Wednesday and as Dan passed by he asked if it was my last post. There was no time. Ethan was coming in the big boat at 8 and we were to use our dingy and his to get all six of us and our stuff off the island. It was foggy. The horn was going when I awoke. I’d brought down a load of my stuff the afternoon before and stored everything in the Donkey House. There were no visitors on Tuesday except for Claus and Heidi who spent the night in their sailboat in the cove, but they hadn’t come up to the top. They had visited a couple of weeks ago when France gave them some zucchini and herbs from the garden to go with their lobster dinner. I was just doing a quick check of my e-mail messages before I shut it down and packed up. It was starting to rain.
Connie and her friends Sally and Dan had stayed an extra night. France and Lucia and I could have had a sad little dinner, just the three of us, but the six of us had had such a blast the night before, why not close the place down with a party and enjoy our last night with friends. It was such a good idea. Being busy with everyone took our minds off the fact that we were leaving and there was so much food to finish. France held a flashlight over the grill so I could see the burgers and slices of zucchini charring to perfection. We started at the picnic table while the sun was setting with the last of Dan’s Sockeye salmon from Alaska with cream cheese and fresh basil, and a bottle of Prosecco. I’d almost forgotten the scallop chowder. I’d prepped it earlier in the day with onion, celery, corn and carrot in chicken broth. All I had to do was add the flour, butter and cream to the pan after I’d sautéed the scallops and then put it all together. It was delicious and there was enough left to give Dan a second helping when we dug into the best burgers I’d ever grilled with lots of garlic and fresh ginger mixed in. (Dan’s a vegetarian.) The zucchini was perfect and it all went down with the wonderful bottle of 2002 Bordeaux that Dee had brought out earlier in the summer. We had saved it thinking we could drink it with her but the weather kept her away on Sunday of Labor Day weekend.
It was starting to rain. Everything we were loading on the tram that wasn’t in a garbage bag would be wet. Everyone seemed to be waiting to see us cry but it was too fast to think about anything but being sure we had all our stuff and that the house was closed up and ready for Lynne and Tim, caretakers from two years ago, who would be moving in later in the day. We were fortunate to be just walking away, to be able to leave stuff in the fridge they could use and bedding on the beds. But we had to return everything to it’s proper place including tools and other odds and ends we’d used up until the last. Sally and Connie had done a great job on Tuesday vacuuming the house and dusting. We’d taken the garbage away and empty bottles and left a full cube and a half of drinking water.
It did hit me as I ran down the hill ahead of everyone to bring down the tramcar, on which Dan had tied down our pile of stuff. It was as full as it had been in May when France and I arrived. With the house behind me, ducking under the tram on the trail down to the cove, I knew I wouldn’t see it again that afternoon or the next day. I wouldn’t be sleeping there that night or making muffins in the morning. It hit me. It was hard. It’s hard now.
Everything was unloaded and on the sand as we stared out at Claus and Heidi’s boat in an otherwise empty and calm cove and it was 7:58. I congratulated everyone as we loaded all we could in our dingy and France rowed out to await the Leeward. Once aboard, Ethan took us on a victory lap, which was very nice of him, although tearful. We never see our little island paradise from the perspective of the sea and we both cried. I took a few photos and at the back of Ethan’s boat where the tall white plastic pail stood in a corner, I happened to gaze inside and turned to Ethan, who was at the helm, yelling, “what’s with the gull?” “Gull? Seagull?” He didn’t believe me. “Yeah,” I said, “the one in the pail.” “Is it dead?” It wasn’t. A Great Black Back had gone after something, who knows when, and couldn’t fly out. Dan reached inside despite Ethan’s warnings that it would bite him and found a leg caught in a fish line. Ethan recommended we cut off the leg but Dan finally freed it and when Ethan slowed the boat, he turned the pail out into the water. The gull landed on the waves and flapped its wings but couldn’t fly because it was too wet. We took it as a good luck omen and Ethan assured us that once it dried out in the sun, floating on the waves, that it would fly away. A sailboat was passing in front of Seguin far in the distance and veiled in a haze. I snapped one last photo.
Ethan had been a little late arriving and while I stood on the sand I realized I had to pee. I went over to the rocks under the boathouse and for the last time, added the last part of me to the island. I only mention this because if I hadn’t, I wouldn’t have discovered the most unusual find on the way back to the shore, wedged between rocks and sand, exposed in the low tide. I pried it out and inspected what appeared to be what was left of an old brass lamp of some kind. Everyone I showed it to was fascinated and admitted it was an antique of some kind. To me it looks very Jules Vernesque. How nice to take away something so unusual at the last possible minute.
We all had breakfast together at Percy’s: Dee and Cyndy who had come in separate cars to take France and me and Lucia to the rental car agency in Brunswick, and Ethan joined us after he’d taken the Leeward to its mooring and rowed back to his truck. Even Jackson, lobsterman of the Black Diamond, stopped by to say farewell and that he’d see me in New York. Ethan said so too. Lindsay had moved there, to take a job and he has two brothers who live there as well. It will be fun to take him to McSorley’s.
The drive was not easy because I kept falling asleep and had to stop to drink more coffee and revive. Every time I come to the mainland I yawn and get so sleepy and I haven’t figured out why that is. Saying good-bye to France, dropping her off on the upper west side, was especially difficult. I have no idea when I’ll see her again; she flew back to France for good while I was attending our first chorus rehearsal with our new music director last night. Yesterday I got up early and returned the car to the village and walked back home through Washington Square Park. I fully expected to find The City repulsive and annoying but it was a beautiful morning, cool with a breeze and sun and clouds. I love this town. The contrast hadn’t sunk in but I loved being back to all the sights and sounds. There is no town like it. Of course I left my laundry in the dryer for over six hours but when I remembered it and returned, it was still there. I keep wondering what rocks I can find to climb over.
Saturday, September 11, 2010
I hope to continue writing for this blog. It’s become a wonderful routine for me and I am happy that other people have expressed their enjoyment reading it. I expect that a lot will still be about Seguin. I’m anxious to see where it will go. I’ve included two pictures of my mom who is almost 91 and who I hadn’t seen all summer. I had to get to know her all over again. She’s not the same person I knew in May. Perhaps I’m not the same person I was in May either.
I am so happy that you have decided to continue your blog. You are an excellent writer. I suggest that you write a book about your time on the island. You could also write a wonderful children’s book about Ollie and Ollie Jr. You definitely have a talent for writing.
Thank you so much Mary Ann. It means a lot to me that what is important to me is interesting to you as well and I appreciate your comments and support. Thanks for tuning in. I will put a book together to turn in to FOSI as part of the log that France and I are required to submit. By doing that I hope it will inspire something more, maybe even a fiction. A children’s book is a wonderful idea. I will give it serious thought.