I’ve become greedy with my time. I admit it. I’ve never experienced such blissful solitude as I have these last days on the Island. I find I need little else than hours to think and write without distractions. That’s hard to find in the life I lead. I just found out that family will be arriving here on the Island tonight and more relatives are visiting at home where there will be a house with four girls and a guest dog visiting when I return. Seems I can’t escape.
Being on the Island is an existence diametrically opposed to the one I have known all my life as a performer and most recently as an executive director. There’s no reason to do any of that without people around, other artists, audiences, students, staff and peers. I find myself craving this quiet like I crave coffee in the morning, a glass of wine at night, chocolate in the afternoon, popcorn, grilled burgers in summer and hearty stews in winter.
The news of the nephews arrival with wives, toddler and two dogs in tow–though I love them all deeply–leaves me feeling claustrophobic. I felt it at the beginning of this trip when my nieces popped in. I needed some time to myself and now I’ve gotten used to it. Talking takes energy. Listening takes concentration. I get fatigued. But it’s not my cabin to claim–though it feels partly like it is. I talked Dad into taking down the for sale sign. I built the path to the water. I plant the flowers and herbs each year, clean out the shelves and toss the outdated food. I make sure Mom’s things are put back where they belong and help Dad repair what others have damaged. I keep the black ants from invading and destroying the place for crying out loud. Do I sound resentful? Well, I s’pose. Selfish? Maybe. Okay, I’ll get over it.
I wanted to be here when the rose opened. But maybe it’s perfect as it is–leaving just as it’s ready to come to full blossom. A symbol of how one should always live one’s life and that now, with that gift, it’s time I take my leave.
But not before I tell you about Belfry.
Belfry is the Bat that lived in the umbrella on the deck. He tucked himself up under the wooden supports so you couldn’t see him. You had to look carefully to know he was there. Last summer when we opened it, he fell splat on the hard wood and laid there for a bit–like you or I would have. I thought he was dead. I cared. Just as I was ready to get the shovel to bury him he got up and flew off. I smiled. Belfry. Good for you. We didn’t see him again though. When Dad opened up the umbrella this summer he said he wondered if the bat was still there. I said, no, he had flown off last summer and had not come back. It took a while to get the cords untangled to lift the big blue wing of a thing but we did and there he hung–Belfry–upside down with his little eyes staring at us.
I went outside this morning and stood looking at a small patch of daisies. Such innocent flowers, growing and blooming unaided by human hands.
I heard a buzz and felt a swoop over my head. It was Belfry. We share this space just fine. Bats usually travel in packs. Belfry likes his solitude. Like me. He does his thing and I do mine. I wish it were that easy with people. Wait a second.
I can’t believe it. The rose is opening before my eyes.Truly amazing. I told you this place is a little piece of heaven.
It is indeed time to go–with a grateful heart–and let someone else come and enjoy the magnificence. Goodbye little bat, goodbye little rose, goodbye sweet cabin. You’ve been great company and I’ll see you next time.