ONMONHEGAN for 2015 ended yesterday. Until September 10, 2016, then…

Obviously, I thought about it. While thinking and meditating (an insider’s term for thinking), I decided to continue coming here until I just can’t. Once I fairly breezed over these rough trails where now I am more careful and judicious.

I once read an interview of a well known poet (and here you must forgive me for failing to remember who this well known person is) and the interviewer asked him about his habit of writing a poem a day. “What if”, the questioner said, “you get to the end of the day and you have not come up with the poem for the day?” The poet said, “I lower my standards”.

That’s how I will continue coming to Monhegan. There are some of the more difficult trails that I will not attempt, or if I do I may slither down the more precipitous pitches on my butt. Dignity is highly over estimated. Not up to past standards? Not to worry – the views are the same. And that’s what I come for. Oh, and the thinking, aka – meditation.

And now for the poem for the day:


Looking out to sea
The ocean holds me in her arms
Sunlight glistens on the water
Diamonds Stacked fathoms deep
I see worlds below
The past and the future
I see Leviathan and she sees me
I see the souls of countless seamen
Who await the trumpet’s sound
Or perhaps it is I who waits
Window after window opens
I fall into the depths
Mysteries are revealed
Not always understood
I reach out unconsciously to touch the rock
the rock is there – I am dry


Every time I come out to Monhegan, I end up thinking about things. It could be said that that’s the reason one goes to an island – to think about things.

When people ask me about what we do out on this island, I always answer the same thing: “We walk”. That’s actually the main thing we do even though it takes up only a few hours a day. When I am ashore the memories I have are mostly of the walks we took – the sights and sounds, the emotional impact of the trails. If I say that I go out to Monhegan to think, the rumors about my mental state would be confirmed. So we walk the trails. You’d be surprised at the amount of thinking one can do while walking on uneven terrain. So there it is. Walking is the rationale while thinking runs the show.

The most peculiar thing I think about every time I come out here – and we have been coming out here, with only a couple of exceptions when we had other places to go, for almost twenty years – is that this may be the last time I come to this island. I remember saying that on my first visit. I remember saying, “OK, I have done this. It’s highly likely that I won’t be back”. So you can only be sure of the past, the future’s unknown, you see.

Today was day number four on the trails. My legs think it’s day number fifteen or more. I am tired, achy and my mind is full of the idea that I am getting too old to try the more precipitous trails on this, my favorite place to walk. I don’t like this sort of thinking, but it is thinking and that is what I do out here. Could this be an old person’s disease? I think too much. My mind floats free without a tether in sight.

There’s more on this later, but for now, I want to rest and perhaps read a cool book about Chicago. Maybe even take a nap.