“When are we leaving? It’s already mid-October and we are the only ones on our street who are still here.” My husband has been ready to move on from our island home of almost 6 months and back on the mainland of life.
“Wow, really, you’re ready? I have so many writing projects. I’m starting my Podcast. I will get distracted by life if I leave here. It’s so cozy and quiet here. I can think here. All the tourists have left. I love it.”
“You mean you just want to stay for another month or two?”
“That would be awesome.” What a gem of a guy I think.
“Nope, that’s not gonna happen.”
“Holy, shit he’s really ready.”
I was hoping if I ignored the conversation, he would just settle into being here longer but it’s kind of hard to ignore someone who is ready to bolt.
“Ok, ok. Let’s talk about it but how about we do a few more things that we didn’t get to do this summer? We haven’t even gone clamming yet.” He loves clamming, he’s a master clammer if there is such a thing. I thought this would really hook him.
“We can save that for next summer.” He smiles gently and kindly, letting me know he’s no longer negotiating.
Game Over. I have to leave. I used to wonder how people could stay on this island after the season. Wouldn’t they be bored? So many places close and there is a shut down kind of look. But in the past few years I keep pushing for more time here and I like the shift to quiet.
I have watched friends come and go off this island for all sorts of reasons.
“See you when you get back, nope we are still here.” It feels so good to say that sans. Fomo .
“How lucky we don’t have to deal with planes and boats and traffic — we get to just stay,” I gratefully muse.
After 10 years of running around in my 50’s, meeting up with friends just about anywhere or family visits off the island, I am happy to say I have only left this island once during the summer and that was for a funeral which I was happy I attended…and, happy to come right back after. This rhythm of staying put has given me a comfort and grounding I have been longing for. And although it may appear I have checked out of the life to others who are now fully engaged off the island, I feel fully engaged in this new kind of rhythm.
“You know we are going to have to do alot of driving when we leave here. I mean think about it, my electric/hybrid jeep has only been filled with gas one time in the past 5 months.” The electric feature means it can run for 30 miles before it calls for gas. And, apparently the physical bandwith of our life only calls for the minimum, alas just one trip to the gas station. There is pride in that minimalism.
“We are going to be driving everywhere again.”
“It’s ok, we will be ok.” He reassured me life won’t be so hectic if we don’t make it that way.
I know he’s right. It’s time. There is the October light, the herbs from my garden are drying out and the last of the fall dried hydrangeas are filling my vases. The grasses are turning orange and the air is chilled. I scan the fields by the water as I take my last walk of the season drinking it all in.
“I really don’t want to go, but I get it.” He gives me a sweet hug and we begin the leaving process of booking ferries and closing up the house over the next few days.
It know it’s going to be great. Grandchildren await, sisters and friends. There’s a whole world to visit. Nonetheless, those thoughts overwhelm me and give myself a little pep talk:
“Felice, you do not need to run around when you get off this island. You can get to your next spot and tuck in. Wherever you go there you are.” Those are the wise words of one of my favorite meditation guys, Jon Kabat-Zinn. I know he’s right.