And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet,
and the winds long to play with your hair.
After a day’s drive from Western New York, we cross the Bourne Bridge to Cape Cod and spend a delightful evening with friends in Mashpee. Early the next morning, we board the ferry for Martha’s Vineyard. I stand on deck at the rail the whole trip. During the 45 minute passage, I feel daily civilization slowly sloughing from my body. A gentle breeze wafts from the Vineyard shore across Nantucket Sound as we steam toward port in Vineyard Haven. By the time we dock and drive off the ferry, I sense that we are in a different reality. We are delighted to reunite with our Vineyard friends and relish our stay with them.
Our first destination after breakfast at the Black Dog is Gay Head Beach. Vineyard weather can change without notice but remains steady during our visit. The weather hovers between the seventies and eighties. On our way Up Island, a gentle breeze bathes us with salt air filtered through dense trees and shrubs as well as wafting across occasional meadows.
Wild turkeys and guinea fowl emerge from the woods to greet us. A long-horned steer suspends his grazing to return our gaze as we stop by his meadow. Goats also graze on a hill in the distance, not interested in our presence. Deer are also plentiful on the island but remain hidden in the woods.
Arriving at our usual parking spot, we load up chairs and provisions to carry across the dunes on the way to our spot on Gay Head beach. A gentle breeze faces us as we traverse the last dune. Lillian Hellman’s cabana continues to fade back into being part of the earth. A few other people walk the beach and others sit in the sun, swim or do both. Gulls come by to investigate our appearance on the beach, hoping for a potato chip or more. An osprey glides overhead and a seal pops up from the waves, possibly attracted by a nearby pod of fishing boats circled offshore for the bass and bluefish tournament. The seal keeps an eye on us as we do on him. I wonder if he enjoys our visit as much as we do his.
The dunes, breeze, surf, sky, beach sculptures and sand in our toes do their best to welcome us to beach environment. A couple of visitors enjoy the beach experience fully, with no interference from clothing- one woman sunbathing and one man swimming.
In addition to our two days at the beach, we also climb the lighthouse, recently moved back from the Gay Head cliffs to prevent its crashing into Nantucket Sound. We also spend time at our favorite haunts on the Vineyard, most notably Menemsha, an Up Island fishing village best known for its chowder and seafood. Competing for a place in our hearts are communing with the island itself and our time together recounting the Martha’s Vineyard stories each of us has collected over the years. All of us treasure both.
Life Lab Lessons
Where are the special places in your life?
What stories do they hold for you?
What does relating these stories do for your soul?
When was the last time you visited these places?
They are waiting for our visit, at least in your heart and mind.
Joseph G. Langen is the author of seven books, Commonsense Wisdom for Everyday Life, Young Man of the Cloth, Navigating Life, The Pastor’s Inferno, Release Your Stress and Reclaim Your Life, Make the Best of Your Teen Years and Stress Briefly Noted.