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It's the Simple Things


Darman

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It's been awhile since I've done story time with Darman, so here we go!

 

Growing up my family and I used to visit our family house up Maine on a small island off the coast of Mount Desert Island where Acadia National Park is located. The island was a simple place mostly full of lobstermen. There is a section of the island that is owned by the Rockefeller family, but they mostly stick to their part of the island and don't have much interaction. As a kid growing up in the 90's this place was a neat getaway. The only way to get to the island was by a small ferry, there was no cable tv, you had to bring all your supplies from the mainland because there was no shops or restaurants. Basically the only thing you could buy on the island was fresh lobsters straight of the boat.
 

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Being a kid I kept myself entertained by going fishing off the docks or I would go hunt for rock crabs on the shoreline. It was a paradise for someone that liked to make their own fun. I could pretty much go wherever I wanted because the island is small and everyone knew each other for the most part, save for the few people that would rent the one bed and breakfast there. Since everyone knew each other, everyone waved to each other. I loved this as a kid. I would sit on the front steps to the house and would get so excited to wave to the fishermen/lobstermen that drove down the street to the dock at the end. You could always tell the one or two tourist on the island because they usually didn't wave back and had a grumpy look on their face. I did not like those people because they made the island feel less friendly.

 

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Fast forward to my preteen/early teen years and things really started go downhill my visits to the island. One of the last times I was up there, my grandfather had gotten really sick while we were there to the point that he had to be evacuated off the island to the nearest hospital on the mainland. The rest of my summer was consumed by visiting my grandfather in the hospital hoping that he would get healthy enough to go back home. Unfortunately about 2 weeks before 9/11 my grandfather had passed away along with the family dog. The few times I visited after that were tainted due to the fact that my parents were getting divorced and my dad pretty much stopped going up because he had moved down to Texas for work. After all that I basically avoided going up to the island.

 

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Over the years my older brother would visit a lot either with our grandmother or his wife and kids. Anytime I was asked to go I avoided it. I was either busy already or I would just make an excuse so I didn't have to go. I just wanted to preserve the good memories and forget the bad memories and the chancing landscape of the island itself.

 

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That brings us to this year. My grandmother had passed away unexpectedly. This meant that my older brother officially inherited the family house on the island. This was no surprise as it was decided years ago that's who it would go to since he spent the most time visiting there and helping our grandmother maintain the house. While cleaning out our grandmother's apartment we decided a lot of things should be brought up to the island to replace the aging furniture in the house and was very fitting since it was one of her favorite places to visit. The catch was that my brother needed my help to move the furniture. I couldn't avoid it any longer. I was going back to the island.

 

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Together with my older brother, nephew and little brother, we made the 4ish hour drive up. Noting all the changes along the way and getting nervous that the island would be WAY different than I remembered it. We go to the ferry terminal and the ferry pulled up to the dock and it was the same boat they have been using since I was a kid. The ride is about 30 minutes which felt way quicker as an adult that doesn't get seasick as bad as when I was a kid. We get off the ferry and make the 5 minute drive to the house. We passed by a bunch of people and I barely noticed at first. Then I saw my brother still doing the island wave to everyone we passed by. This was the moment I realized that I became what I hated. I had become the outsider that didn't wave at everyone reflexively. I used to get so excited to wave and say hi to everyone when we got to the island. Now here I am struggling to access that muscle memory to lift my hand in a simple friendly gesture. I let the world make me hard and forget about one of the simple joys that I didn't want to forget.
 

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Once I was done helping my brother move everything around, I spend the next day and half shaking off the rust I had accumulated over the years. I grabbed my camera and explored the island in ways I had never done before. I learned that the island hadn't changed a whole lot like I had thought. The way that it did change were in very positive ways. They had renovated the lighthouse and started to offer tours. A ton of new hiking trails were added to explore the beauty of the island. A little general store was added for people to be able to grab some supplies while on the island. The best part was that everyone was still waving to each other including all the new tourist that have been visiting the island.

 

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Just because there are bad memories, you should never let those overshadow the good things in life. I spent years fearing change that never really came to the place I thought it would. Instead I let that fear change me in unexpected ways. Thankfully I was able to quickly shake that off and I was back to waving reflexively to everyone I saw. Embrace the simple joys in life daily, don't just leave them to memory.

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