On an island with a winter population of around 60 people, 10 attending a Wednesday night yoga class was an impressive turnout for class facilitator Jessi Duma. Hallie and Mel shared a mat in the front row and worked through a tough set of lunges. Their mom’s chatted at the end of class, while Miss Audrey doled out homework tips to her students.
Getting out and getting together with your neighbors is essential to island living in winter, though it’s easy to keep to yourself when the wind and ice bid for you to stay indoors curled up with a good book or watching the new Netflix series “Making a Murderer.” For some, alone time is fine, but for others, staying cooped up is a good way to fly right off the handle.
When you feel like you’re losing your grip, just want to stretch or are searching for some peace of mind, come to yoga at the Cranberry House. It’s an online class projected on the big screen every Wednesday and Sunday at 6:30 p.m. There is no cost. Just bring your own mat, and if you don’t have one, the carpet works fine.
With exception only to The Cranberry House, and of course The General Store, all the action these days happens in the island boat yards. Crustacean and Blue General are the last of the boats remaining in a sea of empty moorings at the dock. Everyone else has hauled out. This week, I started my first day of work at the older of the two yards on Great Cranberry, The Cranberry Island Boatyard, and got to see what goes into the vessels that dot the ocean surrounding my home.
I learned that sanding, although it seems simple, is actually tricky business, and smoothing out a perfect curve seems near impossible at first. More importantly, I learned that I need to wake up earlier because “I’m missing the best part of the day” not getting up at 3 a.m.; that Dennis, who is instructing me in the sanding, has a small hawk that frequently gets into his home and has to be carefully shooed out; and that although my shoulder is killing me, the mahogany I’m working on is butter compared to the white oak I’ve been spared from. Dennis said he’s giving me a break for now. “Soon you’ll be ready for a life of crime. You won’t have any fingerprints left.”
The breadth of the skills and experience that the people on these islands possess never ceases to amaze me. I guess you’ve got to juggle being a fisherman, carpenter, gardener, boatbuilder and a poet to make life out here work. But really, who would want it any other way?
The first month of 2016 is nearly gone, vanishing at a fairly quick pace. So far, not much snow, but then last year was similar. Here comes February, and we may repeat last year and kiss the ground and warm weather good-bye. Sympathetic, yes, but not many hearts were broken seeing the snowstorm wallop the mid-Atlantic but not us. Dedi Whitaker and Molleson O’Donovan went to New York City for a couple of days and were able to get home on Sunday, so the plows were out nonstop to keep the roads clear up there. At home, Dedi’s car was buried.
Ashley Bryan received an award at Dartmouth for social justice. Pamela “Esme” Thompson from Dartmouth’s studio art department received it on his behalf and read Ashley’s acceptance. Soos Krasnow attended.
The New York City subway now has a poster “New York Voices” by Ashley Bryan.
Jeri Spurling is back from the Dominican Republic. She wasn’t able to get any warm weather into the return luggage.
Kathleen Damon and Elliott timed a trip to Florida pretty well. We’ll see if she could bring any warm weather or tans back for the rest of us.
Tuesday is tea day at the Islesford Library. Cindy Thomas gets coffee and tea available, and each week, someone supplies something yummy, sometimes still warm from the oven. C’mon down. Enjoy tea or coffee, the baked gifts and conversation, and take a book or two home. There are science books that cover warm weather.
Question of the week: when it’s as cold as it’s been, with strong wind making it feel colder, why does anyone (won’t give any names) get the fire going in the woodstove, put on a sweater, then have ice cream? Ben & Jerry’s is good, but isn’t warm weather a better time for it? But then, B & J (or their lookalikes, with ice cream, fro’gurt, etc.) needs us to support them through the year. Warm weather’s not necessary.
Sam Hyler, Eliza O’Donovan and Lucy Pickering celebrate their birthday, Jan. 30. Happy birthday!
We look forward to reporting all the news. Send items to us by 5 p.m. on Sunday. For Islesford, email Sally Rowan at [email protected], and for Great Cranberry, email Sarah McCracken at [email protected] or call her at 978-879-5939.