Sophie’s Passage

I imagine this is true of any island,
that there is a bittersweetness to the comings and leavings.
A set of rituals that inform the travelers.
The packing of the suitcase.
Sweater or bathing suit.
Choices of reading material.
Looking once more at the ferry schedule.
Last minute flurry of a rush to head out the door.

On Martha’s Vineyard they ask, “And how was your crossing?”
And with that simple greeting you are welcomed into the relaxed pace of island time.
So that when you are ready to leave, the rituals start out calmly.
Both sweater and bathing suit are on you at the moment
and the book has been read and added to the library shelf.
There is the ferry schedule but there is no rush.
And the sun that shines on the bluff will follow you home
but the light is never the same.

So it must have been for Grandma Sophie.
When she bought this Up Island property almost a century ago.
A meadow, an ocean and a chicken coop to keep her company in her widowhood.

The same rites of passage.
A leather bag and a parasol.
And a safe crossing to you all.