My guest blogger today is Jenni from
She loves the island as much as I do and can write about it with adjectives and adverbs galore.
I felt the pull of our island long before we ever “landed” here. The island called to me across the water to where we lived on the mainland, almost haunting me until we made the decision to actually move there. We were thwarted by a bad economy the first time we thought of moving and we stayed landlubbers for seven years. An even worse situation forced our hands…as if the island was saying to me, “It’s time”… And here we are.
On one of the first Sundays we came to the island, we drove past the harbor on a foggy day, the mists beginning to lift…but not quite. The entire surface of the water and surrounding land was covered in low, white clouds and above that, a playful sun grinned down at us from a cloudless blue sky. I told my husband, “This is heaven.”
“No, it’s the island,” he reminded me. “Yeah…that’s what I said.”
We’ve had people tell us that we won’t be at all surprised when we die and find ourselves in heaven, because heaven will look exactly like this…our island. We have the best of all worlds here: pastoral farm and grazing lands, the water and beaches surrounding us (we even have our very own lighthouse!), mysterious forests and a lovely little lake (the locals call it a pond). It is the most beautiful place I have ever called home. My roots have sunk deep in the island soil.
Apparently there are about 10,000 people on this island, but you would be hard-pressed to find them all. Quaint cottages, quirky houses, log cabins, million dollar mansions and manufactured homes live together nicely, tucked here and there among all the trees and along the beaches, lining the main street of our town and spreading outward. Our first cottage was a 1927 summer house overlooking the harbor. We loved it there. We were literally led to that house when our lives fell apart and we needed a place of peace, comfort, a sense of security and yes, love.
I read somewhere that if you sleep overnight on the island, it romances you with its siren song, captures your heart and you will never want to leave it. We never want to leave. Ever. The thing is…all the people on this island smile. They smile at you from across the grocery store aisle, at the perfect movie theatre while you wait in line for organic buttered popcorn and a cherry root beer, as you meet people on the street or in the ferry line. They all smile because they are happy to live here. This is where they want to be and it makes them extraordinarily happy. People strike up conversations as you peruse the card aisle at the pharmacy, or ask you a question at the grocery store, or simply sit next to you on a bench on the main street of town and ask you how you’ve been.
People here give. They are generous and want to give things they no longer need. Streets and highways often have cast-offs that are eagerly grabbed up by those who can find a use for something no longer needed. I scored a wheelbarrow. We left out a file cabinet. Everywhere you look there is something for someone. When one of the local businesswomen became seriously ill and racked up thousands in medical expenses, a group of people pooled their money and paid her medical bills. The churches have dinners weekly for the homeless. There is always this or that fundraiser and amazingly, they always surpass their goals. People take care of each other on this island. We are all neighbors, family and friends.
We watch the Strawberry Festival parade where the highlights are the synchronized shopping cart drill team and the trail of vintage tractors that wander one after another down the parade route. We delight to Mr. and Mrs. Santa who parade down main street behind the high school band for the annual tree lighting. Jack-o-lanterns, carved by the high school football team, grin eerily along the porch of the local coffee company and enviable fireworks light up the sky from the harbor on the Fourth of July. We are all about tradition here. You will even find the annual sheepdog trials here where artisans actually spin yarn from dog hair and weave it into some pretty amazing mufflers and scarves.
|Photo by Kevin Scott|
Yes, we have to take a ferry to get off and on the island. But that is part of the magic. When we get on the ferry to go home, the cares and stresses and chaos of the world we leave behind stay on the dock, right where we leave them, as we glide across the waters homeward.
Our island has small-town quaintness and charm. We are diverse here. Keep Our Island Weird, boast bumper stickers. What I feel on this island is an incredible sense of belonging…as though I always did. It took me a lot of years to “come home”…Wanderlust ever prodding me until I actually arrived. Now I never want to leave. Despite all that has happened in our past…the heartache, the chaos, the tragedy and sadness…it didn’t follow us here. The island accepts everything about us and offers that peace, serenity, comfort, deep contentment and joy that we so need.
Jennifer Clawson Farnes lives on a island in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and an itinerant peahen maned Edith. A mother of six, grandmother of eight, she loves old stuff, finds beauty everywhere, and still without a clothesline. She writes and has been published in Bella Grace Magazine many times. Follow along with her at www.thechroniclesoffarnia.com
I am writing for 31 days this October about Island Life. Click here to see the other days of writing.