Just passing through

Just passing through 

For more than three decades I identified with Monhegan Island. Even to the point of claiming “peter at monhegan” as my e-mail address. The fact is that Peter is no longer at Monhegan. We’ve all shed as many identities as our lobsters have shed their shells.

When our family moved onto the Island, I had not fully shed the shell that brought us there. I knew that my current shell was not working for me but did not have the courage to accept the vulnerability shedding required. Shortly after moving on, an Islander told me that he observed the ease with which we moved on, and predicted that if things did not suit us just right, we would move off with the same ease. Well, it took ten years for my inshore shell to shed. It did when I realized that there were things about the Island that did not “suit me just right”, I was damned if we would move off. Well, life on the Island bumped along for the next two and a half decades when we were called off the Island to attend to some family needs.

For two years we continued to identify with Monhegan, keeping that shell firmly in place. It’s been an additional two years and that shell is mostly off. Sure there are bits and pieces of it lying about, like buildings on the Island that once I worked on and now are held together by other hands. The New Monhegan Press is in different hands and taken on shell of its own. Or Monhegan Commons, www.monhegan.com that I still update daily or the e-mail address, but with every change of tide those bits of shells get thinner and more fragile.

Life on Monhegan was good to me and my family. Of course I like to imagine that we had become part of that Island. But that was a time that is not now, a different tide. All of us passing though Monhegan are affected by that Island and so we affect the Island. Yet both effects are written on the sand at mid tide and are soon lost to the incoming tide.

The last time I was on the Island, in “our home”, which is very much the same as it was when we resided there, it was different. The spirit (our spirit) was not there. Oh, it was nice enough, but it was not much more than a summer rental to me.

The shedding of Monhegan is a liberating experience for me. Giving it up, is more like giving it back – even though it was never mine to have or give. I rejoice at the next generation’s “take over” of the Island and wish them well. It is good to leave as friends, as leave we must in any case.

Peter Boehmer

peter at monhegan dot com

2 thoughts on “Just passing through

  1. Peter and Raquel: Both of you have added to my life with your site. I check it every day and save the photos for my desktop and for a friend that paints. Part of my daily routine is to check the site.
    Your efforts have kept me abreast of things that happen on Monhegan. As just a regular visitor for many years, I have grown to really appreciate Monhegan.
    Thanks for all your efforts. You have truly been a part of Monhegan like many generations before you.
    Time marches on.

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