Monday, June 3, 2013

The sign

This past week we officially opened the summer house, the latest start to the season in memory.

Inclement weather and family commitments caused repeated delays, but when we finally arrived, we were greeted with a lovely surprise.

A stone wall separates our property from our neighbors’. On the other side of that wall is their potting bench and above it is a new sign that reads: “SEA SKY SPIRIT.”

Those three simple words painted in blue lettering on a green wooden sign map out an amazing adventure.

My parents bought this land in 1969, and I have spent a lifetime of summers here.

I wrote my college thesis “Fogland,” a collection of nonfiction essays, about this place. Shortly after, my mother gave it to a neighbor to read.

Without my knowing, copies of my thesis circulated throughout the neighborhood and beyond.  

Urged on by neighbors and strangers who somehow read the thesis, I envisioned that someday I would continue these thoughts in book format.

But in November 2010, I accepted a freelance writing position at a new online newspaper, the Tiverton-Little Compton Patch; and I began searching for a name for the new column.

It came to me in church one Sunday morning while singing a hymn. The words “sea and sky” seemed to jump off the page, capturing the essence of nature writing at our home by the Sakonnet River. The addition of “spirit” is the reason I embarked on the journey: to praise God and His creations.

Over the next year I would write more than 50 weekly columns, but when the newspaper changed its format, I did as well.

For some time my best friend had been urging me to write my own blog, and it seemed the perfect opportunity.

So I became a Google blogger launching “Sea, Sky and Spirit” in January 2012, and the newspaper published the weekly link.

Now 10,824 page views and 76 weekly posts later, I stare at my neighbors’ sign and smile.

How grateful I am to God for all those words and to my neighbors for their act of kindness!

Later in the day my parents and I walk to the beach, and my mother introduces me to one of our newer neighbors. We start talking, and before long she asks me if I am “the writer”.  I nod. She tells me she has read every one of my blogs and my thesis as well, and I give her a hug like a long, lost friend.

The adventure continues…


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