I am in Nantucket, a beautiful island off the east coast of Massachusetts. An island of whaling history, filled now with summer people, of which, my friend Margaret and I are two of the “first-time” crop.
We are slowly discovering the island: its charms, its traffic congestion, its lovely beaches, its serene ponds and marshes and where to buy the freshest fish for supper.
I still have a loss-of-village-life in-England hangover, a slight hold-back that I can’t quite shake, but the salty breeze and the sand beneath my feet as I walk along the beach, and the gentle sway of masts in Nantucket harbor are helping to assuage my homesickness for England.
The cottage we have rented is cute and accommodating with a central living space, a good kitchen and our two bedrooms with bathrooms are in wings off the main area. There are lots of windows along the front and sliding glass doors opening to the back and the deck.
Beyond the deck a row of cedars stands tall, forming a frothy green privacy wall between our deck and the next cottage. Chickadees and a male cardinal hang out in the trees and I have taken to putting breadcrumbs on the deck railing to entice them. So far, only the cardinal comes to pinch them in his beak and fly off, but I am delighted that he does.
Last night after supper we walked along the macadam road toward the water and then leaving it, followed a sandy path lined with wild blackberry bushes, rose rugose and on the ground, a scattering of various wild flowers. This led us through to a small cove.
From the cove Nantucket harbor appears to stretch out for miles. Above us, the pale blue sky was streaked with thin clouds, as if they were brushed by the light touch of a watercolorist. The brilliant, red/orange setting sun was low and enormous. Beautiful.
On the way home we stopped along the road to watch the sun sink slowly behind the distant trees. A sliver of new moon was visible through a thin film of cloud. A moment of reverence held us fast, when suddenly the sound of mad dance music blasted through the evening stillness and we both looked quickly around. It was coming from . . . where?
We turned and saw, off to our left and slightly up a hill, that, on the top of the roof of a grey shingled house on what is called a Widow’s Walk, two teenaged girls were wildly dancing to the music. Long bare legs, short skirted sleeveless dresses. The music blaring: the girls laughing and flinging their arms and legs out into the air. Dancing to the setting sun? Dancing because they were young and happy and feeling crazy? For the sheer fun of it? The spectacle?
It didn’t matter. The two women of a certain age below on the road began to wave their arms to the rhythm of the music and the girls, high on the roof-top, turned in our direction, the four of us waving and laughing together.
So sorry I didn't have my phone with me on the sunny day of this walk. I'm afraid you will just have to imagine. For those of you from other countries, I thought it might be helpful to see a Widow's Walk: the high place from which wives would faithfully scan the horizon for the sight of their husbands' ships returning home after years at sea.
Written by Cecily Stranahan, our companion on this journey of reflection and self-discovery. Visit Cecily's Blog at LifeOpeningUp.blogspot.com