By the Sea

This week, we are fortunate to be living by the sea on an island off Massachusetts only accessible by boat or air...Martha's Vineyard.  No one seems to know who the namesake of this island was, but we are grateful to Martha and to the Vineyard for offering us a welcome respite from the moving, sorting, and packing involved in turning our life eastward. Today, Ashley and I took a beautiful walk in the woods on the Menemsha Hills Reservation maintained by the Vineyard Conservation Society.   We found the walk because Ashley's brother, Steve, told us repeatedly to "buy the little booklet by William Flender, Walking Trails of Martha's Vineyard and take a walk a day!  You won't regret it."

Today's walk winds several miles through a largely oak forest, up and down and to various lookouts over the long beaches of the vineyard and out to the Elizabeth Islands.  The trail ends by sloping down hill, becoming mostly sand and then opening out to a dramatic pebble beach.  We stretched out on big, hot granite rocks and snoozed, listening to the surf and the rolling round stones turning over as the waves rocked them.  We noticed sculptures of stones dotting the shore.  And, I began to be transported back to my childhood on the coast of Maine.

I remember building with stones and gazing out to sea with my mother long ago.  I remember the sounds and the smells of the salt air and the feel of the hot stones on my feet.  I remember the joy in playing with the most basic and sensual elements of earth...stones, water, sunlight, breezes, ripples, shadows, coolness and warmth.

I think now about the sounds and smells and seemingly endless summer days and feel grateful for those memories and for this present time, here, this week.  I am blessed that the sea and the shore are a deeply connected to my sense of place even though I was born in the heartland of the midwest.

Soon we will be joined by our family that now spans three generations and all this goodness of summer will be ours for a timeless weekend!

Happy summer to all of you and Happy Fourth of July.

Louise and Ashley