One of my favourite books is Drinking the Rain, by Alix Kates Shulman.
It’s about how, at the age of fifty, Shulman runs away for the summer to a rustic cabin on an island off the coast of Maine and has all kinds of little epiphanies, mostly about her relationship to nature. Having grown up and lived her whole life in New York City, it has never occurred to her that nature is especially significant except as a nice place to visit now and then.
She returns to the cabin every summer for years, each time trying to bring the feeling of these epiphanies back with her to NYC in the form of shells and bits of seaweed and eating the way she did on the island, but apparently it’s hard to forage in Manhattan. So it never feels quite the same, it feels ridiculous in fact, this tree-huggy approach to life once her feet are firmly back on pavement. And it bothers her, initially, that she has to divide herself between this new sense of exhilaration and freedom as the island person and the reality of living most of the year in the city.
The book is about finding her way to being both sides of herself, regardless of where she is.
But this post is about PEI, my personal choice of islands to run away to.
There is magic there, and when you feel it you understand why islanders want so very much to protect it. The first post I did in this Week of PEI was one called ‘Home and Away’… I get it. I’m grateful there’s so much love of place from those who call it home.
The island’s magic is in good hands.
I also get what Shulman says about the island vibe and how you can’t bring that back to wherever you live, but what happens is maybe even better because if you embrace that feeling, gather the moments, the essence of the place, like stones on a beach, and tuck them inside yourself… a kind of alchemy happens… those moments hold bits of energy that change who you are, wherever you are.
I bring back stones. And shells. And sometimes accidental seaweed.
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