Thursday, September 18, 2014

Breakfast & the Lighthouse: I.E. Eggs & Beacon

Dear Diary,
Well big surprise (not) it was another INCREDIBLE DAY ON MONHEGAN ISLAND! Today the breakfast pastry was fresh, hot, soft, gooey cinnamon roll. I kept myself in check and only had six. No really, just one. Lisa had to pop back to the mainland, so she left me in charge. Not exactly an inmate-running-asylum scenario, but we did have some mischievous fun. Wait until Holden finds out what we did with his…. Oh, wait, it’s a secret. Never mind.

I confess that I failed the group terribly when I did not produce the days-long promised Jello Shots for breakfast. Nor did I come up with any for lunch or dinner. Fortunately most attendees either had their own bottle(s) of wine, or sat near to one who did, so the liquid grape situation totally mitigated the absence of jiggly vodka situation. Whew.

We skipped on down to Lobster Cove to knit on the rocks and watch the foamy waves and I balanced some rocks and no one got too close to the edge, which frankly made me very happy, because I would’ve hated to have written names on the board. I hear tell there was yoga after hiking, in fact I’m sure of it. But as our days and hours on the island dwindle, I find myself doing that thing where I try to allocate each and every moment to too many things to fit in those moments. So I skipped out on yoga, but not because I didn’t want to be there.

We were responsible for our own lunches and I had the good sense to sidle up to the lovely ladies on the porch eating crab patty sandwiches from Brackett’s Market. As if I were a hovering gull they tossed me bits of their vittles, for which I was extremely grateful. Then it was off to the Lighthouse Museum. In all my years visiting the island, I had no idea you could actually go up into the lighthouse. I did know the museum is packed with fantastic memorabilia and art telling the history of the island, and also that there’s always a great show in the art gallery across from the museum. But up in the tower? THIS WAS SUCH A TREAT!

Our docent Willow, who in past years had waited on us in the Monhegan House dining room, spent most of her summers here and she is a walking history book. The story of the lighthouse is wonderful and I’m glad we made the time to check it out. The view from the top is, of course, spectacular.

Back down on terra firma, we had a fun informal knitting session in the afternoon. We learned how to insert lifelines (or as I like to say EMERGENCY LINES) in our lacework, so in case we make a mistake we can rip it out just down a few lines, not all the way. I’m glad Susan explained this, and I swear I’ll be putting one in soon. For now I fear I used Susan as my personal lifeline, as I seem to always do on these trips. I botched ROW 11 of the half-pi shawl. I swear I tried to fix it on my own, but I still needed plenty of help. Susan got me where I needed to be and helped me understand where I was making an error, which I kept repeating, which yes, when you do it enough times can be considered a DESIGN ELEMENT, but really, I wanted to follow the pattern.

And for me, that’s what this week is so much about. Yes there is the wonderful yoga. The food is over the top. The hiking cannot be beat. So truly the WONDER of this journey is a cumulative thing. But what first drew me here, and what makes me most excited every year, is how much I learn in the KNITTING DEPARTMENT. I’ve been knitting for maybe fifteen years. I’m not bad. I’m past novice. Maybe I’m intermediate. Doesn’t matter, it’s not a competition. And mostly I do knit pretty basic stuff—it’s like with my cooking: I can make fancy stuff in the kitchen, but mostly I’m about comfort food. And comfort knitting.

But here on the island, I always get the kind of time I need to settle into learning something new. It was here where I learned to read charts and do tricky cable work. And it is here again this year where I am revisiting chart reading, which I confess I often set aside back at home. Charts aren’t totally daunting but they are different than my usual fast in-the-round hats, and K2P2 scarves I seem to forever be cranking out for friends. Every time I get a row right in the cool pattern Susan designed, I want to squeal. Every time I get a row wrong, I don’t want to scream (a sign of growth since past years) but I feel another kind of excitement in that I (sort of) know how to fix things now. Well, with Susan at my elbow helping. But still: progress.

Tomorrow is our last full day on the island. As ever I’m going to miss this place even before the ferry pulls away from the dock. But let me not get too far ahead of myself. First things first—I’m going to enjoy the hell out of our Friday, starting with a sunrise walk to Burnt Head. Can’t wait.

See ya at breakfast. (more pictures below)


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