Looking For Rachel Day 4

Wednesday, September 5

Today, we took the ferry from Boothbay Harbor to Monhegan Island, over sixteen miles away.  A whale was sighted but I managed to miss it.

In her book, The Edge of the Sea, Carson writes of Monhegan Island, “…which in ancient times must have stood above the coastal plain as a bold monadnock.”  According to Britannica.com, a monadnock is, “an isolated hill of bedrock standing conspicuously above the general level of the surrounding area.”


Our first stop was the Fish House noted for it’s lobster rolls.  I remember driving to Wood’s Hole decades ago and stopping at roadside stands.  Two dollars would get a hot dog bun filled with lobster salad; then, small pieces of lobster pieces fit the roll.  Now everything is super sized and doesn’t appeal.  I opted for fish tacos.

The restaurant, a short walk from the Ferry to Dead Man’s Cove, faces Manana Island where the Manana Island Sound Signal Station is located, sending out fog signals since 1855.


From there, we walked to Lobster Cove.  The path reminded me of the difficulty getting to the beach at Rachel’s house.  Narrow trails towards challenging rocks.  I had hoped to see some birds of note but none appeared.  Like Rachel Carson, I’m fond of sighting birds.  Unlike her, I’m inconsistent in my attempts.  My friends ventured further.  I remained cautious.


Next the Monhegan Museum of Art and History,  part of the keeper’s house on the Lighthouse grounds.  A real treasure like the museum on Ile Aux Marins across from Miqulon, the French outpost off the coast of Nova Scotia. We stepped back into the past with views that stopped my breath.


We had to do a quick tour in order to reach the ferry on time.  Once back in Boothbay Harbor, we crossed the Boothbay Harbor Footbridge to the other side and did see a bird of note: a loon.


We ended the day with a dinner of beans on toast.  Then a look at the stars while reading aloud James Harpur’s poem, “The Perseids.”  And we were moved.

And in the freckled darkness

the stars looked down on us

and on the gathering of silent animals,

as if they’d willed us there, the ones

they had been waiting for,

ensouling the universe

with our thoughts for sick and absent friends

and wishes for uncertain futures –

the stars saw the meaning of life –

if only for the time it took

to see and lose a prayer

in our evaporating trails of love.

From  The White Silhouette, Carcanet, 2018 




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