Saturday, May 26, 2012

May 26: Monhegan again!

I can't get out here enough! Fortunately this weekend my husband was able to join me on my favorite island. We left in pea soup fog, and now I'm enjoying a cocktail in full sun on the deck of the Monhegan House while a flock of siskins chirps overhead, the foghorn whistle sounds, somewhere far off a bell buoy clangs, and gulls cry down at the harbor's edge. The sun is slowly lowering itself over the curved green back of Manana, the island across the harbor, as I'm slowly settling into the island rhythm for the weekend.

Besides the visual attractions of the island and the brightly colored migrants that pass through it, and the constant sounds of the waves and singing birds, my high moment today had to do with the sense of smell. While listening and looking for a mourning warbler, a skulking, boreal bird with a song often used, for some reason, in TV ads, I found myself suddenly engulfed in the perfume of a lilac grove. The ancient, twisted lilacs are laden with redolent purple blossoms right now, with bright warblers moving among them. For an instant, part of me was on the island I love, on a quest for a sought-after bird. And part of me was back at my grandmother's house, a child again, breathing in that heady fragrance as if it were oxygen. They do say smell is the sense most closely linked to memory.

As a child, too, I
gloried in lilacs, and birds,
at the ocean's edge.

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