The Delicate Art Of Doing Nothing At All
I’m sure there are many things to do on Nantucket Island.
There are galleries, shops and restaurants on the wharf.
There’s a Nantucket Whaling Museum, Lifesaving Museum, Atheneum, Observatory and Aquarium.
The place is rife with historical destinations: Brant Point Lighthouse, Henry Coffin House, and the First Congregational Church (to name just a few).
To say nothing of the dozens of difficult-to-pronounce beaches: Cisco, Siasconset, Quidnet, Polpis, Wauwinet, Squam.
Left to my own devices, though, I tend to do very little here.
I take lots of photos, usually of the same things: dunes, grass, waves, sun. I run a lot. Today I ran twelve miles of mostly sand roads from Madaket to Cisco and back. I read some. Right now I’m about one-hundred pages into an oral history of The Rolling Stones. I play guitar. I brought my new Gibson, and am trying to find new ways around the same old chords (with middling success). And I eat: great, whole-grain breads; huge, fresh tomatoes; salt and vinegar chips and delicious, locally-brewed beer.
What I like best about Nantucket (Madaket, really), though, is that — even as this busy Video Music Award season forces me to keep tabs on the office, and even as I remotely obsess about each “Mister Rogers & Me” Fundraiser donation — the best way to spend time is just letting it while away.
There are breathtaking views out every window. The Atlantic Ocean is twenty feet from the front door, relentlessly chipping away at the fragile dunes. Hither Creek pools just below the back porch, ringed by deep-green eel grass. Madaket Harbor splays beyond, peppered by sharp-white fishing boats.
As I slow down a little bit, I notice all kinds of things. Like the way the ocean changes color over the course of an afternoon, the slow rise and fall of the tide, the fog blowing across the sun, and the low rumble of bike tires across Madaket Bridge. It’s a delicate art, one best partnered with the careful counting of blessings.