Sometimes, just being in the world, I get flutterings of astonishment in my stomach. How could I be here, now, in this time, in this place?
I was full of thoughts of Rachel Field this morning, my subject, my inspiration, my friend across time. Some time soon I will allow myself to open back up to full immersion in the story of Rachel’s life.
All of this blog posting and examiner column writing is like dancing around the biggest thing that I really want to do, which is to finish the book that I started about the woman who walked around this island, awoke at dawn in this house, sat in these rooms. She took her little Scottie dog for walks around the paths, swam in the tide pool on hot days, picked berries, wrote all morning in the back studio, went to dinner parties like the front porch party we had for my mother-in-law’s 79th birthday last night.
I have become acquainted with an avid Rachel Field fan who lives on the other side of the country. She knows all about Rachel’s love of Sutton Island, and when she saw my first blog photos of Sutton I received an email that said, “I feel like I’ve died and gone to heaven!”
The mention of heaven is fitting. Rachel Field's most successful novel was called “All This and Heaven Too.” It was a best seller and later an Oscar nominated film. The title was an exclamation of appreciation for life, even faced with trial and defeat. That is how I felt this morning, bathed in swirling currents of warm and cool air as I walked amidst the rising light of dawn on the island path. Rachel herself was inordinately grateful for the beauty of the world and the privilege of being here to see it.
Sutton Island was Rachel’s heaven on Earth for most of her life. I imagine that for her, standing on the rocks at the edge of the sea at dawn was the kind of moment that gave her a sense of wonder, a flutter of amazement at the heartbreaking loveliness. That might be the moment when she asked herself, how can this be? All this? and heaven too? If her spirit lingers anywhere, this is the place.
It was a quiet island this morning. Unusually warm, little breeze, no lobster boats since it’s a holiday – even the birds were quiet. A good morning for contemplation.