If you were lucky enough, like I was, to spend summers growing up by the seashore on a place like Nantucket Island – then you know what magic is. And how sometimes magic can have a transformative effect – alchemical even, turning lead into gold.
There’s something about being surrounded by the ocean, isn’t there? Being on a “faraway land” which is what the name Nantucket means. Things can happen when you’re removed in such a way. New worlds can open up, especially when you’re young and your imagination isn’t your enemy.
My grandparents had a house out in Polpis, surrounded by moorlands and forests. My grandfather used to take my brother, sister and I on twilight walks through the woods, near a place called the Hidden Forest. We would see tiny, well trodden paths that disappeared under the brush, into the forest and I’d wonder where they led. Who was using those paths, living in the forest, having adventures that we knew nothing about, unseen from us and hidden away?
The ocean was a whole other place of mysterious goings on as far as I was concerned. We’d go out in our beloved thirteen foot Boston Whaler and bottom fish – which meant a lot of waiting around. My copy of The Hobbit will forever smell like squid bait to me. But it also opened up the idea of the possibility of other worlds being just around the corner from your own front door, that maybe you’re not quite ready to see. But don’t worry – when you’re ready the adventure will appear, you can be sure of it. Someone will scratch an invisible sign on your door and who knows who will come calling.
What can be most magical about the summer are the glimpses we catch of ourselves that we’ve hidden away, because we’re finally in a place of being instead of doing.
Sojourning by the seashore and glimpses of truths may appear, glimmering through the sea spray, shining like a beacon, something about ourselves that maybe we’ve pushed away.
Legend has it that Nantucket is a favorite place for ghosts. I know it’s a place where I try to welcome my own ghosts back home. They may have some messages that are long overdue and yearning for a listening to.
But only when we are sojourning by the seashore.
“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink in the wild air.’ – Ralph Waldo Emerson
Daintry Jensen is the author of THE HIDDEN FOREST, a middle grade fantasy adventure novel set on Nantucket Island – release date June 12, 2015 through Green Writer’s Press.