“Everyone must take time to sit and watch the leaves turn.” Elizabeth Lawrence
As we rode back into our yard this afternoon, after spending a couple of hours at a friend’s home, I heard a ferry’s horn signaling “last call”. I often mention hearing the fog horn from our condo, but I don’t think I’ve ever acknowledged that we hear the ferry horns also. About a minute before a ferry leaves the dock, it signals with a blast of its horn that anyone leaving on that boat should get on board “right now”. We hear it so much it usually doesn’t even register – much like I seldom hear our ship’s clock chime the hour and half-hour (although visitors say it drives them crazy).
But today, coming back through the woods on a beautiful cool afternoon and turning onto our street in the Village, for some reason the ferry horn stirred the first real thoughts that soon we would be leaving the Island. This year we plan to stay until the first week in November, which means the Grand Hotel will already be closed when we go. After the Grand closes, the majority of the Island businesses quickly do the same, and except for three or four restaurants and hotels, the Island will slowly slip into hibernation, huckering down for the winter ahead. Year-round residents will get their Island back, and we seasonal folks will return to our other nests.
We still have lots going on before we leave. Next weekend friends from Georgia arrive with a tour group to stay at the Grand, and we have Island friends coming for dinner one night this week. The next week Jason and Blair will be here for a few days. After that, the remaining weeks will fly by – as has this whole summer. Days and nights will be spent with other friends – having lunch or dinner “just one more time”, stopping in the not-quite-so-busy streets to chat and hear who is leaving when, or running to the dock to wave goodbye to whomever is leaving on that particular day. The clock that was wound so tightly at the beginning of the season is slowly running out of momentum . . . soon it will stop, and we’ll be the ones on the ferry with Maddie and Bear and all our “real world” possessions.
It was a gorgeous weekend on the Island. Chilly, but sunny. I spent some time downtown, and wherever my eyes roamed I saw signs of the end of the season. Shops are running sales, summer flowers are being replaced with brightly colored mums, horses are leaving, blankets have been placed on the taxis . . . it’s a progression that, after four seasons here, is becoming well-known and expected. Soon the Grand will pull up the annuals, and next spring’s tulip bulbs will go into the ground. Full circle once again.
When I sat down to write tonight, I had no idea where I was going with this, and I’ve probably done nothing but ramble. But rambling is good occasionally – not everything has to be well thought out and precise. It’s fall. Time to sit and watch the leaves turn.