Boats Go Out


It was a strange Tuesday. Good for the kids: we went to Nora’s beloved Toddler Time and to our secret playground for a meet-up with friends; Nora and Mr. T took lengthy, simultaneous naps, which rarely happens; and Mr. T’s Dada came over to do some final carpentry on Nora’s play kitchen.  It should have been a wonderful day, but everything was clouded gray.

We live in a very small community.  The year-round population on-island is less than 12,000; there aren’t more than 1,500 children under the age of 10 on island.  Though we may not know every family by name, we recognize many of them, and most everyone is a friend of a friend.  When tragedy strikes in our community, there’s no way that it won’t feel close to home.  As people do, most everyone was talking about yesterday.  More details, and we know it’s an island family; we know it happened to friends…that it could have happened to any one of us.  Every mother I spoke with today was just trying to understand what happened, how we process it, and most importantly, how do we help?

It’s hard to imagine just two mornings ago we were standing on our own spit of sand, surrounded by islanders and visitors alike, just watching boats.

Last week was race week.  Sunday morning was the Rainbow Fleet Parade where all the boats put up bright and colorful sails.  It’s supposed to be beautiful.  As sometimes happens with toddlers and mornings, we missed the full parade, but did get to Brant Point in time to see a few colorful sails.We hunted for shellsdigging through thousands of the “same-old” to discover a handful of gold.We marveled at bigger boatsand spoke wistfully of small dinghies.

We soaked hemlinesand posed for a rare family photo.It was a great morning.

It feels so long ago.  For my family, life will move on as usual.  For most of the island, life has already moved on as usual.  But even as I plan for tomorrow’s beach afternoon and the next day’s play date, even as I think about a second birthday party, I am reminded how important each moment along the way is .  Sometimes we see the parade, but mostly we have to find joy on the way.

And I thought, tonight, our Nantucket boats are a wonderful analogy for the rhythm of life.  Coming and going.  Big whistle-blowing moments separated by monotony.  Occasionally thrown off course by unexpected storms, but always resuming on their path.  The boats go out, but they always return.  I don’t know how to make sense of such a loss.  I don’t know what it means or how it can possibly happen.  But today, through community mourning and clouds of gray, I saw support and love and hope and prayer.  And that tells me no matter how stormy the seas, the boat will come back again.

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One response

  1. Lovelorn Poets Avatar
    Lovelorn Poets

    Just such a sad situation, Amber. 🙁 Reinforces how fragile life is and how our lives can change in seconds. Wishing better days ahead…

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