“Life’s a great big canvas, and you should
Throw all the paint on it you can.”
September 1, my seventy-second birthday, was my first day alone on the island as a full time resident. The children and grandchildren had left Nantucket to resume their lives in Rhode Island and Colorado, and for the first time in years, I was on my own. I walked on the beach, had lunch at Proprietors, and ran a few errands. In the evening, I grabbed a quick dinner at the bar at Nautilus and went to a movie at the Dreamland.
The summer had been busy. The house was full of family, friends, and tons of children. Every minute was filled with the beach, pool, eating out, eating in, bonfires, and s’mores on the beach.
Now everyone is gone, and the house is way too quiet. They have returned to jobs and school and the tasks of ordinary life, and I am feeling untethered. This will be the first year that I don’t get up each morning to teach English to high school seniors.
The house is clean. I have organized all the drawers and the linen closet. I have washed everything. I have cleaned out the refrigerator. I have picked the last of the tomatoes and basil, and I have made pesto and tomato pie.
Now I am ready to begin to make a life.
There are so many things I want to do, but in order to accomplish them, I will need to discipline myself and to reach out in ways that are not entirely comfortable for me. I want to write. I want to paint. I want to get a job—at least a part time job. I want to join a book group and a poetry group. I want to paint. I want to make friends and have people over for lunch and dinner.
I want to make Nantucket my forever home.
Today, I will start “throwing paint.”
This is Pat Jones' first year living full time on Nantucket. After decades of teaching English at the high school and college level, she is now embarking on a new and challenging odyssey. Both retirement and Island life are new and exciting and occasionally daunting. In this column she will share what it is like to live on Nantucket year round. As a poet, a writer, and a novice visual artist, her metaphor for the journey is “Throwing Paint.”