Does any place you haven’t visited in five years match your memory of it when you return? Isn’t there always a glitch somewhere? Are our memories ever identical to the reality? Is this observation correct for all things and people too??
So much of what I’ve seen in my delayed return visit to Nantucket is not how I remembered it. Does it matter? Not as far as I can tell. New memories are created only to be mangled again within a certain number of years. It probably can’t hurt us to remember that our “precious” memories are imperfect imprints always subject to change.
When I was in middle school, I had a teacher who loved to say” You remember what you want to remember.” Said with an Irish accent. That’s probably true, but I never questioned her wisdom. Is the antithesis of this true then, “You forget what you want to forget,” ? That would be nice. Not achieved easily. Especially with an Irish accent!
The images that live in my mind of places and/or scenes from my past rarely look the way I expect them to. However, here in Nantucket, the sense of the place feels the same. Definitely not as thrilling to me as it was in my youth, but a general sense of well- being seems to pervade my days here. I might identify it as timelessness. Pure luxury at this time in my life. The mid day sun actually hovers, in no hurry to rush through a perfect summer’s day.
We’ve found some new places as we drive down the dirt roads. Cue John Denver, Country Roads, change the lyrics from W. Va. to Nantucket. It works pretty well. Each time I pronounce the scene in front of me as “glorious.” If taken apart, the individual parts would match other places I know on the island. But in its newness, it’s a different arrangement, I feel a more intense interest than I do with places that are more easily recognizable.
Living in California has dimmed my ability to get excited by other landscapes. I automatically search the horizon for mountains and there are none. New England scenery is softer and definitely lusher than Ca . this time of year. I inhale the green, exalt in the small ponds that dot the landscape. I delight in nature’s summer exuberance, rushing ahead through the season of growth. Living life with the throttle on full speed.
The faint scent of wild roses mixes with the salt breezes bringing with it the certainty that this alluring combo does not exist in very many places on earth, enhancing its appeal. In California, it’s always the scent of sage. I like that too.
Walking in the sand is more difficult for me now than it used to be. My feet hurt some and felt less attached to my body. I don’t think they’ll self-detach right now, but that is no guarantee for the future. It made me realize that my years of being able to roam freely at beaches looking for natural items that catch my eye (aka beachcombing) might be drawing to a close in the not too distant future. I felt momentary sadness pass through me. Seize the moment, dahling. Now, Now, Now.
Getting down into a low beach chair required me to let myself fall into it. My knees just don’t work well enough to lower myself with any control. Luckily, the canvas seat of the chair held together on the impact of my body falling into it..My husband was polite enough not to laugh.He didn’t even smirk.
Dianne, I always enjoy your writing, but this short piece was full of satisfying parts, which I’m sure you were quite pleased w/yourself! (“If taken apart, the individual parts would match other places I know on the island. But in its newness, it’s a different arrangement, I feel a more intense interest than I do with places that are more easily recognizable.” and “The faint scent of wild roses mixes with the salt breezes bringing with it the certainty that this alluring combo does not exist in very many places on earth…” I could so easily smell that combo! Thank you for sharing your Nantucket–I feel like I have a new memory now, even though I’ve never been there myself. 🙂
I love east coast beaches and I hate those chairs!! Thanks for the visit to Nantucket.