11. Monhegan Island

Ok… Maine is beautiful. I’m not sure why I’ve never traveled here before, but I will definitely travel here again.

I was a bit of a mess in the days leading up to my departure. There were so many moving pieces to coordinate. But mostly, it was the idea of leaving my girl for four weeks. The anxiety was not hers, but rather mine. I worked at a boarding school long enough to know that teen girls can pass a disconcerting number of days and weeks without noticing the distance between themselves and their parents. I knew she would be fine. Still, my heart ached and tumbled and missed a few regular beats.

And too I felt myself pushing against the question of what life would be like when I returned. There were (are) still so many unknowns, so many moving pieces. I kept trying to sort everything out, to make the unknown known. I kept wrestling with my desire for things to be predictable and decided. But, as I have to keep reminding myself, this is an exercise in trust. I am not alone in any of this. Very little of life, for millions around the world, is predictable and decided at this time. Which makes this a rare opportunity to live in the present, to exist only in this moment. 

And so, I got in my car and drove, accompanied by a suitcase full of socks and four weeks worth of groceries. That alone seemed like progress. I had a clear destination and goal. Because we all need something to drive toward (literally and metaphorically). 

Four weeks worth of groceries… two boxes.

As the landscape of the cities gave way to the foliage of the northeast, my nerves began to calm. By the time I reached the harbor, the slow build of anticipation had turned into tangible joy. A thick fog enveloped the port and obscured the island. I was, in every sense, setting off into the unknown.

On the ferry, I noticed a small bee mucking about on the deck. It’s wings had been dampened by the thick fog and it was unable to fly. Despite the choppy seas and the pitching of the ferry, it seemed determined to hang on. After some time, a fellow passenger pointed out that the bee had crawled onto my boot as was attempting to get inside of it. I gently scooted it away, but it continually came back to me. On the third try, the little bee curled up in a crease and seemed to go to sleep, and so I let him there for the rest of the hour-long ride. I joined him in his determination to get to land. I would see that this little guy safely survived the journey!

My friend the bee.

Once we docked, I scooped the bee onto the back of my phone so we could disembark. It was trap day, the first day of lobster season, and the pier was bustling with lobstermen filling their boats with traps. It was a beautiful sort of chaos and the perfect greeting to Monhegan Island.

In the midst of the bustle, my little bee flitted away from my phone. I didn’t see where he went off to or where he landed, but I hoped he was safe. I walked a few steps to meet the truck that would deliver my luggage to my cottage. As I slipped my hand under my coat, I felt it, a quick, sharp sting. I pulled my hand away to see an embedded stinger and I knew the life of my little friend had come to an end. I also knew that in short time, my hand would be absurdly swollen, as always happens when I am stung. And it was in this state that I arrived at the Cracked Mug.

Quaint is not the right word for Monhegan Island. Nor is rustic, though it is both of those things. It’s more like stepping back in time. It wouldn’t disturb me in the least to pass someone on the path wearing a cockle hat and cut leather boots. The island feels ancient. Electricity for the entirety of it is powered by a single generator. Water is sourced from an aquaphor and limited. Most places have it turned off by mid-October. And it is cold. The sort of delicious cold that forces you to retreat inward, to sleep deeply under piles of blankets and wake with a nose cold from the air.

There is no light pollution here. At night, it is a deep dark, even with the light of the moon. I feel my body beginning to uncoil.

If you would like to regularly view photos, be sure to connect to instagram or facebook (links below). The internet is marvelously slow, so it might not happen often, but I’ll try to keep new content coming!

Published by dainsworth

The tether. That thing that binds us to our families of origin, not by any desire of our own, but through the mere act of existence. We spend our lives exploring the roots of this connection, be it to an unending wellspring of love or the heavy, unshakeable burden of pain. We create new ones. We watch as old ones fray. And sometimes, in life's most painful moments, we witness those tethers break. (un)tethered traces the paths of old and new connections through family, love, the modern church, and fourteen-years of single-parenting. I begin this blog in a time of deep uncertainty, having recently left my position at the boarding school where I lived and taught for the past five years. Technically, I still live in Charlottesville, VA, but the next steps in life could take us anywhere! There are many unknowns ahead, but I know I am not alone in this. I hope this will be a place of solace for all who are wandering/wondering through this time.

One thought on “11. Monhegan Island

  1. Will keep it short, due to your limited internet, but wanted to thank you for the update. So sad to think you helped your bee friend to shore, only to have such a mishap occur, and one that you’ll feel the effects of for days. Glad you took plenty of socks, as it sounds cold. Cold weather is fortifying for the soul though. So glad you’re aware you’re not alone; not only are you with Elohim, but there are angels watching over you.

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