Monday, May 15, 2017

Island Magic

Martha's Vineyard in the middle of May was gray and blustery, and the sea was roiled up in a proper gale-force way.  My friend Ethel and I did the only appropriate thing and sat in the bar having a huge Dark and Stormy, listening to the wind howl and watching for Ahab to come stumping psychotically in.  Walks on the beach were adventurous and hearty.  She tied a shirt around her head a la Little Edie Beale and we held on to each other to keep from blowing over.  There were blossoms everywhere, and sandy dogs, and people wearing wool hats.  The view out to the wild sea makes my heart pound with happiness.  That bit of relative calm up there is Lambert's Cove.  The wind there was slightly less punishing.  
I love these windswept dunes, full of hidden tide pools and bird tracks and shell treasures.  Those blossoms were the most delicate pink, just the vaguest pink.  A suggestion of pink, against the white sand.  
In a moment of serendipity, I bumped into a couple of readers in the yarn shop (where else?) in Vineyard Haven, and then, crazily, we met them again later in the line at Back Door Donuts.  Hi Sarah and Steph!  I swear I am not stalking you!  Back Door Donuts.  Listen, I have to tell you this story.  Two years ago Ethel and I were on the Vineyard, hanging out in Oak Bluffs after dark.  We'd walked around at twilight looking at the camp cottages [awesome] and it was cold and dark.  A cozy snack started to sound good.  It was not yet Memorial Day, so not much was open, and we were about to give up, but lo, we came upon a light--a single light on someone's desk--shining from behind the window of a real estate office.  A woman sat there in the circle of the single bulb.  She was dressed all in white, and had long, white hair.  I am not making any of this up.  Ethel is bold and talkative, and she said, "I'm going to go in there and ask her if she knows of a place."  I was protesting--it's late, they're definitely not open, the door is going to be locked--but the door was unlocked.  She placidly looked up, like she'd been expecting us.  Ethel said something like "Hi, we're new to the Island, do you know of anyplace where we could get some dessert?"  The Woman in White said, "Do you know about Back Door Donuts?  No?  Follow me."  She led us around the corner and down an alley and past some trash cans where finally a long line was forming beside some dumpsters outside a screen door at the back of a bakery where they were selling donuts.  At night.  A donut shop speakeasy.  It was like finding Brigadoon.  And you guys, these are the greatest donuts you have ever had.  They pull one out of the fryer, put the bacon on (yes, the BACON) and hand it right to you.  They know you don't even need a bag.  We turned to thank the Woman in White, but she was gone, and when we tried to go back to the real estate office to say thank you, we couldn't find it.  I have thought about that little piece of magic dozens of times in the past two years.  So of course, back again on the Vineyard this year, we headed directly for the donuts, and there, as before, was the screen door, and the line, and the dumpsters, and the gorgeous sugary air all around.  And naturally, seeing Steph and Sarah again at Back Door Donuts was exactly what was going to happen.  Island Magic. 
I knit socks on long road trips to keep from going bonkers sitting still in the car.  These three socks happened over the weekend.  How can people who don't knit even stand to go anywhere?  


  1. Lovely story beautiful socks

  2. Loved your photos. Loved the magical story. Love those socks. And I'm with you. I don't know how anyone can stand to do anything without a bit of Knitting along. Thank you for sharing this magic with us today.
    Blessings, Betsy

  3. What a great story. I have a sock related post up at the moment. You need a sock knitting project bag for road trips.

  4. I wholeheartedly agree about knitting on trips. How did I not go insane before I was a knitter? And it is completely logical that knitting will be packed before anybody leaves this house as we go to Australia next month. That is 16 hours on a plane that will be put to good use.

  5. Unfortunately, I, shall we say, tend to hack up fur balls...lots of them...over and over again, if I even Try to use my eyeballs for any industrious purpose whilst riding in a vehicle of any type. Or flying. Or God forbid, boating! unless I have taken the anti-queasy stuff...and lots of it.
    I was born by the ocean and now live more inland, so I especially enjoyed this post, as my mind floated back to growing up in similar scenes -and not appreciating them half as much as I should have! Ha!
    Anyway, I swear I was better with furball retention, till I hooked up with Josephine. Ah well, she is worth sympathy-puking for. She's so darn cute.
    Yes, donuts that melt in your mouth, and ladies who melt away into the night, and yarn where the colors melt together into pleasing patterns. I half thought that Josephine's furballs would be interesting to look at as she is a tortoiseshell cat. But no, same grey-black globs with a few pieces of grass tagging along for good measure. My above-mentioned furbballs tend to look like plain old puke unless I have been eating Skittles immediately prior to trying to use my eyes for an industrious purpose while riding, flying, or boating.
    :) maureen and ->^..^<- josephine

  6. OMG - donuts! What a wonderful lyrical story! You are a great story teller - looking forward to your next adventure!

  7. That is one of the most wonderful stories I've heard. Love it! I would kill to be on Martha's Vineyard right now. Sigh.

  8. I always enjoy reading your stories, such a way with words. And I don't knit, but I crochet up a storm in the car!