20 July 2005

Stranger in my own land

While my paperwork happens, I've been spending time on another island, Martha's Vineyard. Although I've been coming here for 20 years, I've found so many things unfamiliar after this new perspective. For example, the bugs here are insane! I talked to my hairdresser in Iceland about how bothered she was by the number of bugs here, and at the time I thought she was just squeamish. I arrive here to discover beetles as big as large dates, huge caterpillers half the size of a Bic pen, earwigs squirming in the flowerbeds, spiders staking territory in the corner of the kitchen. There's moths bumping against the windowscreens, opportunistic mosquitoes chewing on my arm as I cook in the evening, and ants trafficking crumbs across the street outside. I guess this is why Icelanders don't need screens on their windows.

also, since when did plants and trees get so crazy here? I left before the greenery really got going, so it was quite surprising to arrive in the midst of green summer. The trees and plants press up against the sides of the roads like they will soon consume it, and gardens, if left alone for a few years, will become forest. It's quite a change from barren lava-tundra where the tiniest flower is preciously hanging on in the torrential winds.

I'd also forgotten how crowded places like this can get. It's like Iceland on June 17 every single day, except without the national costume and iceflags. Actually, the clothing in general is disappointing. Maybe it's because I'm on a summer resort island, but it's a rare day that I walk down the street and see some interestingly cut skirt, or a pair of shoes I think would look splendid on J. It's all hooded sweatshirts, flip flops, and my favorite look, the bikini bathing suit with a pair of unzipped, unbuttoned cutoff jeans worn over it.

I've also hit the very peak of the horrible weather I was so happy to leave behind. The days are torrid and soggy, often threatening to rain without actually producing, and my only relief has been the ocean, which is still mercifully cool. I have enjoyed some of the other elements of the place though- the wild roses are blooming along the bike path, so every day I rollerblade along it, bordered by ocean and lagoon, awash with the scent of honeysuckle and rose and the smell of seaweed, beach, and baking grass. I've seen baby ducks and yesterday spotted a white heron flying across the marsh. Even the rhythm of things in the neighborhood are comforting and familiar- the sounds of the gardening neighbors talking and mowing, the clank of rope against flagpole in the breeze, the cawing of crows and the rattle of grasshoppers in the heat. It's been the sound of summer for me for 20 years, so it's nice to come back to in this time of waiting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Let me know if I comment too much for comfort :-)

I've only been to the Vineyard once, but ever since my arrival to Boston back-in-the-day in 1996 I've wanted to eat at the Black Dog, and leave with a T-shirt.

I like your description of the overgrown weeds.
- Paul