Do you ever wake up in the morning when you’re in a new place and have a few moments of disequilibrium? Aka, Where the hell am I? Better than who the hell am I? It’s happened to me for a few days now, until the answer quickly resonates, Nantucket, baby! The slight crack in the curtains tells me it’s a sunny day and in a minute I surrender to the knowledge that I’m happy to be here. My husband departed for a fishing date very early and I have hours to just screw around and do as I please.
The Long -Awaited Return
I’m still not entirely certain how I feel about coming back here. Several decades ago, most years we spent the early weeks of summer here, in a tiny cottage we rented for the relatively affordable sum of $100 a week. Then, my kids were babies and very young. Now, I’m a Californian and life is just different. Returning after all this time is like anticipating a visit with an old long lost friend. Will you still be connected with each other? The familiarity I feel here with the landscape is welcome. I still know my way around (mostly). The flowers are glorious and in full June bloom. The town is pristine. The traffic is heavy. Silly women in straw hats trimmed with white ribbons walk around toting lightship baskets handbags that cost several hundreds of dollars each. I’ve never cared much for status symbols.
The Charms of New England
Much is overlooked or forgiven because the island of Nantucket is New England at its most beautiful. Yes, there’s been lots of new building since we were last here, but it’s mostly houses out of town hidden by the lush plant growth and not in town itself. Over half of the island has been preserved and is in conservation! Quite an accomplishment. The old architecture in town is colonial architecture at its finest. I used to fantasize about living in one of the antique ship captain’s homes. Now, my taste is more down to earth; I’d prefer a beach shack! Who wants to be encumbered by a large house? Fortunately I am different than I was 40 years ago. The island, not so much. Timelessness is part of the appeal.
The Tourist Trap
“If you’re fond of sand dunes and salty air, quaint little villages here and there,” crooned Patti Page at her most saccharine in the 1960’s with her hit song Old Cape Cod. I found myself singing it today. uh-oh.
For a few minutes I looked too long at dish towels with stupid sayings on them, wondering whether I wanted to buy one. I made myself exit the store. Too many spouting whale motifs. It’s hard to walk on cobblestones. It felt as if I were laying on a heating pad, as the cool breeze kept me from cooking, for an hour today at a local beach. I remember this warm fuzzy feeling, although I seldom indulge anymore for the obvious reason. The sun felt better than ever! Hey, at 80, I should be able to go a little crazy sometimes, don’t you think?