By the grace of my future in-laws, Block Island has become an important part of my life. It is not just some island to hang about while on vacation. Whenever I am here, I am present. I usually have a hard time being that way. Oftentimes, I’m thinking about everything but the very moment in front of me. That dilemma easily disappears when I’m on Block Island. I can’t help but notice the renewal of my senses when I inhale the island’s air. When I’m in the city, I peer up at the sky multiple times a day, not noticing it even once. Here, I absorb all the sounds I hear rather than tuning them out. I devour the taste in my current bite, rather than thinking about when I’ll fit in the next one. I’m telling you, there’s something particularly special that goes on around here on the island.
Even the light seems to be different. When the sun radiates, birthing a new day, it somehow feels lighter as though it wanted to be here. Rather than serving its duty, the light is dancing. It illuminates its power across the “pork-shaped” land, kissing our skin with shades of pinks and reds. The light says, “I am here”. So are we.
This year, Maya and I decided to spend some time in Newport, Rhode Island before heading out to Point Judith to board the traditional ferry. We wanted to check out the place, having heard about the worldly elegance of the Gilded Age mansions. We rose at the crack of dawn at our beachy Airbnb to take a stroll down to a shipyard where we enjoyed the Catch of the Day (salmon) at Belle’s cafe. From there, we drove along the Ocean Scenic Drive until we rolled around to a cliffside walkway that stretches for about 3.5 miles. After marveling at the neighboring mansions along the walkway, we slurped down a bowl of world-famous clam chowder at The Black Pearl. Afterwards we headed over to Newport Vineyards. When it comes to Maya, there’s always a glass of wine involved. We boarded the ferry and headed for Block Island.
Once we got off the boat, Maya’s father greeted us. He took us down to the shore of a private beach. We surveyed which boulders he’d fish from that night. As we wandered across the rocky beach, Maya’s father flipped rocks until he revealed tiny creatures scurrying sideways, seeking alternative hideouts. Easy to catch, the thumb-sized crabs scuttled right into Isaac’s hands. He handed them to us to observe between our fingers. This is to say, much of our time spent on the island consists of roaming its edges where the land and water meet.
During our visit, we inadvertently followed a peculiar meal schedule. It often went like this. 10am, breakfast. 4pm, lunch. 10pm, dinner. This all may have been because we’d get caught up in the moment crabbing, fishing, and clamming during usual mealtimes. If you ask me, I wouldn’t change the way it was. There was no routine. I quite liked it. Whenever Maya and I are here, we have the opulence of three meals a day assembled by Maya’s parents’ soulful home cooking. When I consume their meals, I feel as though each flavor were sewed together to make the harmonious quilt of a meal.
In between meals, we set camp to bask in the sun or read a story. Learned how to cast a fishing rod properly, hoping for a dinner’s catch. Rode the waves and collected pebbles to build layered pyramids upon driftwood. Rummaged through arbors of shrubbery to reach Southwest Point. Dug into the inky sand until we discovered appropriately sized clams. Teetered on top of the algae-covered chute of rocks protruding the shore of Pebbly Beach. Chased the slivers of commotion caused by a school of tuna fish traveling through the channel. Clambered along the cliffside to find a surfer’s waves by Black Rock. Salivated the drips and swirls of award-winning ice cream Sundaes. And hiked in between waves of Cheeto shaped blooms from the Goldenrods.
To put this all simply, every time Maya and I come to Block Island, we are here. We are here for whatever the ocean brews. A calm sunny day where the birds spread their wings, spotting the ripples with their shadows. Or an impending storm that causes the thrashing waves to emerge and submerge back into the Atlantic. In whichever form or cause, we savor the sprinkle of frigid water suds as they collide with the fringes of the island.
Here, we are joyful. We are liberated from all else going on in our lives.