I got a prompt in my box this afternoon
from the Helmsley agency,
who asked us readers to describe our favorite spot using all five senses.
Here is mine:
picture a very small, incredibly beautiful island
in the middle of the Atlantic.
The packet boats go near there daily,
as do the hydrofoil and large ferries.
And yet, the noise is near silence,
only a soft swishing you barely hear over the continuous wind.
But to actually get to our special place,
you have to then get on a tiny chugging ferry,
that sits low in the water,
and swishes gently as you putt-putt to land.
The sky on our island is nearly always a pale blue-gray color.
Clouds skurry on the horizon.
And as you climb from the tiny tea shop
at the white sand inlet where you land,
you can smell the salt in the air,
and the tang of seaweed,
and sometimes even the smell of fish
and other sea creatures.
The wind picks up as you climb the hill on the tiny island.
You pass wild strawberries,
and berry bushes,
a small white guest house,
the only one on the island,
has the only allowable vehicle.
It passes you on your way up,
The smell of diesel pungent in the absolutely pure air.
As you leave the small gardens of the carefully tended guest house,
you can smell the vegetables ripening in the sun,
if you are there at midday,
you smell the cooking.
Fish, fresh-caught, and two veg.
The potatoes are small,
and have a delicate texture you can see in the pots being carried into the kitchen to cook,
after being carefully scrubbed and pared outside.
As you pass the ancient church,
if you pause in the doorway,
you can smell the sunlight
on the white wood and hand-embroidered tapestry,
as old as the Plantagenets who landed here.
And then you are finally there.
The blast of frigid salt air tosses your hair wildly,
as you fight to stay on the path,
and out of the way of the wiring put up to stop erosion.
The gulls circle,
“time for tea.”
But we stand quietly,
rubbing cheek to cheek in the joy of the light,
and the smell,
and the wind,
and kissing, hard,
before turning downhill,
toward a bracing swim,
and a hot cup of wonderfully prepared milky tea
poured from a gigantic silver tea pot,
in a rough wooden hut,
on our way back to what others think of as civilization.
Goodbye till next year, Island.
Thank you for the wonder.
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