Friday, September 16, 2005

September on Peaks Island

Just as we were completing a week’s stay visiting our daughter, a well-written article appeared in the Boston Globe about the island. Her art gallery is cited as one of the places to visit. Read for yourself this insightful view of our daughter’s home at Locals emphasize that September is their favorite month, as there are fewer visitors and the weather exhibits sun, breeze, warmth and coolness just short of perfection. We agree and choose this time repeatedly.

Our island abode is at Eighth Maine. Our first encounter with this term was a mystery. Not an address as we thought, but a location. Built in 1899 as a meeting place for Civil War Vets who served in the Eighth Maine Regiment, it provides lodging for all the descendants of this regiment as well as for visitors to the island. This gigantic lodge faces the east side of the island, the Atlantic Ocean area of the bay. Crashing waves over the gigantic rocks put us to sleep nightly. Many interesting conversations with fascinating people have occurred in front of the fireplace on chilly evenings.

The islanders showed their generosity at their Katrina Relief program, September 11 with food, entertainment, games for the kids, and a silent auction of beautiful art and gifts, providing approximately $10,000 for victims. This matched a similar fundraiser for tsunami victims. For the small number of island inhabitants this is a magnanimous feat of which most cities and towns can’t boast.

We are learning yearly how wonderful these Mainers are, whether they are native born or baptized by their settling here. Many are transplants from other states, the South notwithstanding. Fiercely opinionated about all subjects, they are loyal, friendly, and cooperative. We like their open mindedness, although you need a persuasive argument if you offer a different opinion. We support our daughter’s fondness for this community. Her art gallery has brought a much-needed service to the island artists, so we’re reminded often, and she has loyal community support.

Since Wednesday we are in the woods, having returned to our newer living habits after a week of lounging in civilization, and realize how comfortable we are in this once primeval forest. Lots of projects keep us busy and the mundane responsibilities we face cheerfully.

Still haunting me is the less-than-three mile daily visit we make into town. It takes up so much of our day to make contacts, answer mail, buy groceries (ice is our daily purchase), and chat with friends we encounter. I still seek weeks of quiet, but I have to grasp it in fists of hours. Those hours are gifts. How grateful I am to be here as thousands deal with displacement and turmoil. That fact I’m not ignoring.

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