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The first time I came here to Monhegan was exactly 12 years ago today with my erstwhile girlfriend Susan. We had befriended a girl named Jill McDonough (now a fabulous poet in Massachusetts) who invited us up on a random August week, and it turned out to be one of the best trips ever. Dr. McDonough took me deep-sea fishing at 5am, where we spotted a tuna the size of a small schoolbus. The island itself is tiny, an almond-shaped piece of rock an hour by high-speed boat into the middle of the black sea.
It’s hard to remain in America and still feel like you’re in a village that truly takes care of each other, but this place is a communal paradise. Any islander knows pretty much what every other islander is doing at a given moment. When we went looking for any sign of the McDonough family, three random people told us that one of the sisters was at the library.
Tonight we hiked over to the “backside,” the impressively high cliffs that jut out over the ocean, the kind of view that says “there’s nothing between you and Irish coast.” We sat on a high precipice and talked about when we – meaning she – is going off the birth control pill. We came to a happy decision and sauntered back through the woods. It takes a place like that to provide the canvas for life’s huge decisions.
When I was here in 1991, we sat on the Adirondack chairs and waited for the Leonid meteor shower that comes every year – and we didn’t see shit. Tonight, Tessa and I sat outside on the cool lawn chairs, and after 2 minutes of staring into the sky, we saw the biggest shooting star either of us will EVER see. It took up fully 25 degrees of the sky, and was so bright that it left an afterglow in the back of your eye. Knowing that we saw the Michael Jordan of meteors, we packed it in. I mean, sometimes having a superlative moment can be very relieving.
I spent the evening going through the pictures of our wedding using the Mac’s iPhoto program – and I was struck by two things. First, iPhoto is slower than hell. Second, my buddy Lawrence Lucier is one of the greatest artists I know. Tomorrow I’ll write my wedding recap, and you’ll see what I mean.
Goodnight from the deep sea!