Snow shovels didn’t get much use this year. They sat at the ready in the front of the shed, poised for action in the snowy New England weather. The ghosts of my childhood clustered around them, holding hands and looking to the sky. Back in the golden age of youth, I shoveled driveways for a few of the neighbors in my childhood home north of Boston. Patterns are useful, I would begin up at the door to the garage, and then heave the snow into a pile, square by square until I came to the snow plows berm. Mr. and Mrs. Boysen would watch from a big picture window while my youth burned their driveway clear, and then they gave me a glass of orange juice and a windmill cookie. And cash. Behind the idle shovels, their ghosts stood with my father and looked at the sky. They may still be there now, but the shovels have retreated to the back of the shed, amid the volleyball nets and historical artifacts from the old Henry’s. The golf clubs have replaced them, with a similar pair of eyes focused on the sky.
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In my early years on Nantucket, when cable was new, the movie theaters were closed, and the Internet was a rumor, dinner parties were an adult entertainment where you could talk to each other without shouting. We met on Thursday nights, when everyone was on-island and the chaos was coming to a close. Sarah and I made lasagnas, apple cakes, chowders, and any other page in the cookbook that is currently stained. Even in some tiny galley kitchens, tucked into guest houses and rental basements, Sarah and I made some nice meals.
In September, the Members have arrived. They may have dawdled through the summer in Florida or Colorado, but now when the Albies are schooling, the wind is fresh, and the crowds have gone, they have flown up, settled in, and are enjoying the evening on their porches. For everyone else, Labor Day is that cruelest of holidays, when school and office call just as the island is at its best. The corn, the tomatoes, the surf, the sky—everything peaks just as the summer people are leaving. For the Members, their sunlit time has come.
They walk by each night at six thirty. He wears a UConn sweatshirt, a Bill Fischer Tackle hat, and lists to starboard at each step. She sports movie star sunglasses and pink sneakers. They trudge by, smile, wave, and keep going. My Boon Companion has stopped giving them warning barks and now wags.
by Robert P. Barsanti By now, we can see the end of something. The Yukon from New Jersey, with all of the Cisco stickers and the roof rack is number three on standby and is ready, finally, to head back. The lines are shorter, the parking is easier, and the …
The sky announces the end of summer.During my solitary walk to the trash can late at night, I saw a long streak cross the southern sky before it disappeared behind a low rolling cloud. The Perseid meteor shower lights up the middle of August and calls out “last call.”
The moon surprised us.
The marginal fog had simmered away until the beach settled clear and blue. We were lolling in our chairs on the south shore before an insistent, distant, and muttering surf. All around us, pink skin stretched over towels, under umbrellas, and in front of phones.
Nantucket sings and swings on consideration. You can’t act without thinking of others because the others are thinking of you. You must drive with your eyes up and your windows open, because the guy in the Miles Reis truck has to see you before he turns. Your Freedom To runs smack dab into Freedom From, then gets a load of garbage on the hood. You have to look, you have to wave, you have to wait.