Write about what you know, they say.
I know the way the wood on my favorite bench, that one in front of the deli, sighs and buckles when I rest upon it to watch the traffic in and out of the old brick building, the one on the corner that used to be a grocery store, then a wood shop, now a restaurant.
I know the children’s faces, sticky ice cream smeared down chins, dripping off elbows, cruising by in strollers, clicking their sandy heels together, enjoying the ride.
I know the plight of the high-heeled woman, off to a wedding, her spikes getting caught between the jagged bricks, because no one warned her that those shoes don’t really work here, and they will also sink into the lawn.
I know the sound of the bell on the Old Whaling Church that chimes each hour on the hour, never failing, as the sun rises in cotton-candy clouds of pink and blue and sets in wild oranges and deep purples, and more stars than we ever thought possible twinkle above in the Eastern sky.
Write about what you love, they say.
I love white picket fences heavy with hydrangea, and wild woods rife with plump blueberries. I love green fields spotted with butterfly weed and Queen Anne’s lace, where horses and cows graze, and sparrows gather around their feet to pick up the scraps.
I love the way this town surrounds you in a warm embrace those times when life hucks you bricks, and hoists you upon its shoulders in times of celebration, and I know how to hug and to hoist as well, heart full and shoulders strong.
I hate mopeds.
I love how the sea breeze whips my face as we lay tracks in the sand in a Jeep, or better yet, the back of a pickup truck, and oystercatchers and terns fly overhead, dive-bombing the flats in search of their next meal.
I love a fresh-shucked oyster, briny and smooth, like a tiny bit of ocean encapsulated in a single bite, and to consume this delicious morsel from a rocking chair on a porch from which I can point and say with pride, This oyster came from right there.
I love the way snow drifts on sand dunes and horse pastures and old dirt roads, and when lazy luxury yachts that dot the harbor in July are replaced by hard-working fishing skiffs in December. With their orange nets and white buoys and plywood sides, they knock against the finger piers, ever prepared to reap the bounty of months with an “R.”
I love seeing new faces and faces past, young and old, and I smile as they pass, I say hello, because here we are, this old New England town, where nothing and everything changes each day, and to capture it in words is like chasing fireflies with a Mason jar clutched in tiny hands, dirty from playing in a backyard all day. And hoping one — just one — will fly in and be released onto newsprint and glow so bright it makes you smile.
I love when you share with me your news, and make me a part of your lives, because this is your column. I am merely a steward, and each week, I poise my fingers upon this keyboard, ready for your stories to flow through the circuitry and become a part of the rich history of our town.