Sunday, July 30, 2006

A Late July Afternoon

Heading uptown on the 3:45 boat Saturday brought me across an Island tradition-diving off the pier or anything else that can be jumped from. It's been pretty hot on the Island the last few days so a lot of swimming has been going on. It's an Island tradition among the kids to gather at the dock and hit the water in any shape, norm or fashion possible.

For us adults, it's an instant trek back in our minds to our own youths at our own watering holes just passing the time looking for something to do. Now, as full fledged adults we look at the height of the jump, the closeness of different boats, where the incoming ferry is or how cold the water is. For the kids, it's just something to do and they've been doing it ever since we first set our feet on this wonderful place we call home.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Lure of Peaks

Coming home on the 12:15 boat yesterday was an interesting experience. After parking my car I was wandering through the garage toward the boat and came across two license plates very close together which intrigued me. Both had "Peaks" in them with one from Maine and one from Virginia and both were exactly the same. Now, summer on Peaks Island always brings forth many more vehicles than usual and quite a few contain references to the Island. But two exactly the same from different states was something new.

This Island does have a very strong calling to the inner core of individuals who live here year round, who live here during the summer months, who visit for a week or two year after year after year and those who have spent only a day or two visiting us. At its core, we are all Islanders.

Usually on the boat back to Peaks, you can either find me buried on the bottom deck lost in a book or some music or standing outside lost in my thoughts watching the Bay go by. On this day I decided to ride the top deck with the tourists and partake of the excitement of something new for them. Of course we were in pretty dense fog since it was a hot day but I enjoyed listening to the conversations and watching people take pictures of the fog bank nearly covering a couple of lobster boats doing their work. Coming into Peaks, the fog parted just before landing and I thought there might even be a round of applause for the Captain finding our destination. I'm serious; a fun moment.

Yes, we do live in a very special place.

Saturday, July 15, 2006


No matter where I've lived or worked, each community I've been in has contained unique discriptive terms or phrases that only it's "members" have used and understood. On Peaks Island we have quite a few of them. If you're on the Island and going into Portland you're going "uptown"; if you're in Portland and going to Peaks, you're going "down to the Island". If you're going to Hannigans for groceries, the post office for your mail or going out to eat you're just going "downfront".

The focus of "downfront" tends to be the corner of Welch Street and Island Avenue. If you're not sure where that is, just follow the line of traffic moving very slowly and you'll get stuck right about in the middle of it as each boat comes in from Portland. Last week I was going uptown on the 10:45 am boat and just stood in the middle of the street and captured some of what this corner has going on. The Who Let The Dogs Out Hotdog stand was just about ready for another day of lunchtime activity, the first ice cream cones were being consumed to pass the time and the Bud Perry Bulletin Board as always is open for business. There's nothing like a good cup of coffee watching life go by on this corner. It's not much but it's ours and it's definitely Peaks Island in July.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

An early July evening

Sometimes you just get lucky. Making the rounds of the Island returning borrowed stuff to various individuals and after catching up on all the latest Island news we happened to find a vacant parking spot on the backshore just as the sun was going down in the west. The sea was calm, the young ducklings were on the move, several parties of people were enjoying their dinner on the rocks and even the gulls were pretty much at rest.

It was just a peaceful moment that makes life on Peaks Island very special. You can't plan for it, you can't look for it and you certainly can't demand it. You can just take advantage of it when it comes across your path and take some time to reflect on it and enjoy it to the fullest.

And enjoy it we did. Here's just a particle of what we saw; enjoy.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The 4th on Peaks

Another 4th of July has rolled around and Peaks Island has once again sunk at least six inches under the weight of our visitors. At no time during the year are there more people on the Island than right now. It seems every house and cottage has between four and six cars strewn over the front yard. The back and side yards are filled with kids, bikes, frizbees, volleyball and anything else at all provides some form of entertainment.

The roads around the Island are filled with walkers, bikers and some cars trying to get from point A to point B without running anyone over. On the front of the Island the line trying to check out their ice, beer, hot dogs et al at Hannigans stretches throughout the store like a ski line at a winter's resort. The corner of Welsh Street and Island Avenue is a mass of humanity just standing around eating their ice cream cones and either waiting for the next boat or just watching time pass.

Yet, with all the humanity that flows off the boats onto our little Island right now, there is a wonderful sense of families being together trying to slow down the frantic pace of their daily lives into something that is meaningful. There is a lot of just sitting around on decks and porches, just reading, just talking and just watching life go by. It's wonderful to see people sprawled out on rocks gazing at the crashing waves totally lost in their own thoughts or walking together along the back shore or just plain sitting still for a moment. Just being still is something we all need more of.

Though we're in the fog today, maybe we'll have some fireworks to watch tonight to end another 4th of July. May your 4th of July be as interesting and restful as ours.