On This Island

Nahant is as lovely as I remember, if not more lovely. Since my arrival, almost every day has been blue, sometimes tufted with benign clouds. There is a bench overlooking the nearby beach that I like to occupy in the mornings, letting myself be lulled by the sun and the cries of the gulls as I pray. Later, when the light is falling behind the sea, you can descend to investigate the sand at low tide. If you’re feeling childlike, you might pitch a handful to watch it shatter midair. Against the backdrop of a salmon-colored sunset, you will always find sailboats, rolling gently. And when it is dark, you might see the twinkling lights of a cruise ship passing by.

Two days ago I discovered a quiet road that winds along a treacherously rocky shoreline. Stately houses stand guard above, looking out to sea as if awaiting the return of a wartime ship. One house looks out with blank eyes—the windows smoky, the green shutters weathered—and the lawn is prisoner to ferns and deadfall, an impenetrable tangle. It looks as if it could belong to an old hag that the island children fear to disturb.

I return from my explorations to a humble house where I make myself busy. I love the view from the kitchen window. A retinue of smaller trees cluster around a massive exotic-looking weeping tree—the kind you would expect to find baboons perched in. I like to keep the window open, welcoming in the fresh breeze, the sunlight, and the chittering of birds. A few trees on Nahant are turning a delicious red foreign to the prairies I come from, but most leaves are telling me summer is not quite over. I believe them. On this island, it feels as if summer could last forever.

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