A few weeks ago we found ourselves in New England. Our particular reason for being there wasn’t a very joyous one, as we paid tribute to my late grandmother. However, she lived exuberantly and finding moments of pleasure and beauty during our trip was only appropriate and honorable.
We started with a short visit to one of my brothers (I am the ring leader of seven: four brothers and two sisters.) on Ender’s Island, near Mystic, Connecticut. It is a small island. Very small. In fact if you stand over its heart you can look from side to side and see water. (This observation halted my lull to sleep as I suddenly realized we were completely surrounded by water. Then I thought it was curious and exciting, then proceeded to drift off.) The island is home to a Catholic Retreat, a place of peace and solace for those who need it. My brother works there whilst going to school and pursuing priesthood. Watching my siblings become adults is delightfully riveting. People with whom I used to create Playmobil worlds, steal sun-warmed berries from prickly bushes, and was forced to do things such as share my M&Ms are suddenly doing things like getting married, joining the military, or becoming a priest. At times this makes me feel old. Most of the time it makes me thankful I’m no longer in my twenties!
Back to the island. Ender’s Island was exactly what my heart needed before such a sobering weekend. Stone walls and buildings are scattered among green stretches of grass under large shady trees. Everywhere you turned there were little gardens filled with bright flowers, blooming bushes, and statues of saints and deities. A small sandy beach on one end and large slabs of rock going into Fisher’s Island Sound provided immediate access to the refreshing smells and breezes of the salty sea. Mr. H, who loves all things calm and composed, proclaimed that he’d be content sitting in a chair and watching the ocean and sailboats for the rest of his days. The Little Man, whose current passions and hobbies are anything but placid, had many things to explore plus doting Grandparents, uncles, and an auntie to give his tattered parents a break.
The tranquility of the island is mirrored in its people as the few I met were overwhelmingly sweet and generous. From sharing Lindt Chocolates to casual conversations between meals or in the gardens, we were, and are, so grateful to have had the opportunity to visit this little haven.
Next up: Boston!