Cause & Effect ~ dls

I first learned about the theory of cause and effect from my father. It might have been when I perpetrated some offense and questioned the ramification. Whatever the event, I never forgot it. And as I grew older its meaning became even more poignant as I reflected on my own history – none more intense than my relationship with Monhegan. It is interesting to ponder the effect I might have had on Monhegan, as I seem to only feel the effect and impact the island has had on me over nearly sixty years. Children, teenagers, young adults rarely perform outstanding feats, especially when on vacation for a few short months. I was never elected to office on Monhegan, never contributed to the library, or to the Lighthouse Museum. I spent my days in a gang of kids thinking up scathingly brilliant escapades and carrying them out with fierce determination, touching base at home only nightly for dinner. The children of the forties, fifties and sixties were a special breed because the island didn’t have electricity and only a few phones to speak of. We were inventive, energetic, brave and driven to be independent. We were somewhat “multi-generational and cross-cultural” – I mean, older and younger, island and mainland kids hung out together. It was magic, at least to us.

The impact that kind of summer upbringing had on many of us actually brought some of us to live on the shores of Maine year-round. We work, contribute, raise kids, and dream of those days on the island, all of us -especially the ones who are no longer associated directly with Monhegan. So the impact will go with us to our graves, as it probably has for generations of kids – summer and year-round alike. And perhaps that is actually the impact we have had on Monhegan – the illustration that children need to be courageous and be allowed to demonstrate their great ingenuity and energy. We loved the island…truly loved every inch of rock, sand, meadow – every path, every mainland view, every foggy day; all the sounds – the sound of oars hitting the oar locks, drifting in and out of the water and sound of the rain on our summer rooftops, the sound of the Trailing Yew dinner bell and the sound of horse shoes being played. We remember the relief and hope in our parents’ eyes and voices, as the boat slipped in beside the wharf, at the beginning of summer, and the rope was cast. It was as though Monhegan might have restorative power over the many failing marriages, and families under stress, prior to summer’s end. Naturally we cried when it was time to return to our mainland lives for another year. Our relationship with the island was love, it was deep, intense, abiding love.

I’d like to think that our generation of children had an effect on Monhegan somehow. If love is any indication, then we collectively made an impact. At the very least, Mother Monhegan stood watch while our beleaguered parents had a much needed break! Such a deal…that moment in time. And the affect – island to us, us to island – was lovingly mutual.