September 15, 2011

Hanging On to Summer

The day before Hurricane Irene was predicted to arrive here in CT, we were supposed to leave for vacation. This seems to be a recurring theme for us because the last vacation we took was postponed due to a blizzard! So the next time we plan to go away, we're going to pick the travel dates, and then leave the week before (or after).

But we finally did get away to Block Island, the birthplace of Franny and Lou! It's a small island just 13 miles off the coast of Rhode Island. It's a little slice of heaven with long stretches of beautiful beaches and picturesque landscapes of rolling hills, stone walls, bluffs, and the vast Atlantic Ocean.
I was so lucky to spend family vacations there each summer when i was a child and the place is filled with many wonderful memories. When i was sixteen, i started working on the Island every summer and continued to do so throughout high school and college. I worked here at the Spring House Hotel for several years...cleaning rooms!
Know what else i had to do? Laundry for the entire hotel! Must be why i'm so good at it now (yeah, right). This is how i feel about laundry:
On our recent trip, it was really fun to walk through town and to remember some of the many other jobs i had — renting bicycles to tourists, scooping ice cream, working at a retail shop, waitressing, and babysitting. In fact, when Pete and i went to the real estate office to pick up the keys for the cottage we rented, i looked from the name plate on the young woman's desk to her bright eyes and sure enough, it was one of the little girls i used to babysit for...all grown up.

We visited with my dear friend Molly who owns a cute little shop in town called The Scarlet Begonia. She was the person who gave us our beloved furballs, Franny and Lou!

Something i always like to do when we're on vacation is take pictures that will work as desktop images on my computer. I like to keep them simple and uncluttered so they don't camouflage all my folders and files. It sounds dorky, but when i get back to work, i don't have to look too far to be reminded of the peace, beauty and fun of our adventures away from home. If you'd like to, you can download this one (rocks in a row) or this one (weathered shingles) for your personal use. The rocks were untouched and positioned just as the tide had delivered them to shore (i have this on my desktop right now). The weathered shingles were on the cottage we rented.

Here are a bunch of pictures from our lovely little escape, as we try to savor summer for as long as we can... 
There is something magical about visiting the same place over the span of many years. Time becomes like an accordion and compresses the past and present into a vivid, harmonious snapshot of what remains constant in your life and what is ever-changing. As i stood at the top of the stairs —in the bottom right photo above — and looked down to the beach, i could see my 8 year old self running to the water's edge and filling bucket after bucket of sea water to replenish the moat around her sandcastle. Part of me knew that she would then dash up the stairs counting each one as she went, to meet me at the top and look out together at the waves and memories as they rolled in one after the next.

11 comments:

  1. How beautifully poetic you have described your vacation! Loved reading it.

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  2. Wow, that looks amazing! I sure do miss the east coast!

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  3. Enchanting, the pictures, the place, the memories. Thank you for sharing!

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  4. Looks like so much fun. I went to college in RI and went to Block Island only once but I had a great time! I'd love to go back some day!

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  5. The photos are gorgeous, and your writing is so beautiful, Kate! I might have to share your last paragraph with my composition students who are working on personal narratives right now!

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  6. I love the Narragansette bay area. I spent many summers visiting the area too when I was younger. I miss the east coast and the ease of access to the ocean now that I live in Texas. Thank you for sharing your pictures. They brought a smile to my face and a tear to my eye as I thought of my family, friends and the ocean.

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  7. Thanks for sharing this, and your photos. I LOVE rocks (geology major... go figure!), so I'll definitely be borrowing your Rocks In A Row desktop pic. :) I'll have to add Block Island to my vacation To Do list. Looks lovely!

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  8. Oh Kate -- that last paragraph made me cry! What a sweet post with wonderful memories. I LOVE the little surprise with the girl you used to babysit. How fun!

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  9. You have a way with words for sure Kate. Accompanied by your beautiful photos, this post makes me feel like I took a mini vacation.

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  10. looks beautiful - hope you had a great holiday and didn't miss franny and lou too much :) I've been missing them !

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  11. Looks like a lovely and restful trip - so glad you got to go, if with a bit of a hurricane delay! I completely agree with you about going back to places steeped with years of memories - you put it so eloquently! That is totally how I feel about going to Maine :)

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