Experiencing Monhegan — Thom Peters
I’m a newcomer and a one-timer (so far, anyway). My wife and I came to celebrate our 25th anniversary this past August. Neither of us are “artists,” per se, although we both play instruments and sing in choirs and I like to write poetry. But we both were seeking a “place away from the pace.” The ferry was the most important part, perhaps: the length of the ride, the size of the waves, the pitching of the boat. When folks began to disperse upon disembarking, the sense of being somewhere else grew more. The “trek” to the Trailing Yew was accompanied by the growing realization that we had to be ready and willing to accept whatever hospitality would come our way. We need not have worried.
We hiked the circuit of the island the following day. We took our time, enjoyed the seals frolicking at the north end, lost the trail a few times, but did not worry since it was an island, after all. As the afternoon wore on, we ran in to more and more hikers travelling the opposite direction, with many of whom we shared pleasantries, observations about the day, the island, the view, and offered to take pictures of one another. I think we could have walked all day, but we were glad for the food and hospitality of our new friends at the Trailing Yew.
One more gift of the day was to be had. We were treated to a visit by a ring-necked pheasant shortly before we returned “home.” These birds have become auspicious for us. We rarely see them, except on important occasions: the day we moved into our first house, for instance, and then when we pulled into our first bed & breakfast in Scotland where we ventured for our 10th anniversary. And now, for only the third time, on Monhegan as we marked our 25th anniversary.
That night I awoke and ventured outside to see the Milky War, the stars in constellations, and other stars, falling, shining but briefly. I was struck by this metaphor: I envy the long-term community on Monhegan. I cannot afford to visit there often enough to be regarded “a regular,” but I hope I will always be welcomed as a star, even if just a shooting star.
It’s a miraculous place.