Welcome. Edgartown News was born from the simple fact that I have ink and Dektol in my veins and I need to write and photograph more than I need air or food, and from my love for this little town where I grew up and raised my family, the town I have left a few times but can't quite shake for good. Here you will find wanderings and musings, photographs and commentary; the people, places, and happenings - past and present - of a small island town: my home town.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010


As far as writing goes, thinking is half the battle, and I do my best thinking while walking. There's something about that left-right-opposite thing, I think, that both inspires and orders my thinking. It's been proven that crawling is an important phase for babies, that it should not be skipped (by placing baby in a walker, for example), because crawling - the left-right opposite thing - develops the part of the brain that is associated with reading. Along these lines, I heard recently that one of the methods for working with children with dyslexia is to have them crawl backwards.

For another thing, walking, simply by virtue of its being exercise - albeit low-impact - increases blood flow to the brain, which improves thinking, and specifically, memory.

I love riding my bike, when I'm in a hurry, say, but there's something grounding - literally - about walking. If I walk one mile - 5,280' - at the rate of 1.5' per step, that is many, many times that my feet touch the ground in that mile (I'm not in the mood for math today; actually, I never am), with each step adding immediately and directly to my feeling of well-being and strength and ability to face the world (gosh, if I owned this idea and could market it, I'd be rich).

Today I took a walk out the West Tisbury Road, to gather my thoughts, as well as a few images, some of which I share here:

Norton's Field
The Norton Field is one of my favorite views in town, one of the last of the wide-open views left, what with everything growing up wild - hedges and weeds and vines - and all the new construction. What's missing from the photo is the smell - of hay, of the earth; and the sound - of the wind, and birds, and the mid-summer crickets - they sound different now than they do in June, don't you know? In June their song is new and fresh, "Rejoice! We've got all summer!" Now their song has a tinge of nostalgia: "Summer's waning; the fair is coming, fall will be here soon. Time to get your new school shoes and stock up the wood pile, it's going to be a long winter."

This field has been used for growing hay for as long as I know of, and one of my favorite memories is of seeing Phillip Jeffery Norton - well into his elder years -  raking this field by hand with his long, wide, wooden hay rake.

Now, that would be a picture.

Queen Anne's lace and coreopsis

Queen Anne's lace
Our golden jewel of the fields, butterfly weed

Sometimes on my walks, I might hop up and walk on top of a stone wall I find along the way, such as this 3'-high wall on the edge of Floyd and Janet Norton's property.

Why? One, because it's there; two, because I still can; three, it's the way I keep the balance mechanism in my inner ear working properly; and four, because it's a way of seeing the world from a different perspective - remember? like we did when we were kids. I don't ever want to lose that ability. Yesterday I was lying on my back in the grass, looking through the sun-haloed leaves of a big old oak, watching the sky and the clouds (oh - be sure to look in the northern sky tonight, right after dark, for the aurora borealis, a result of a big  - big? try cosmic-proportioned - storm that erupted on the sun yesterday). At one point, I turned onto my side. All the trees and houses were sideways - a little dizzifying to have the horizon at a 90-degree angle, but interesting - important, also, to keep our brains young according to latest research, to see the world that we take for granted in new ways, from many different angles. Yes, that's how we stay young, folks, by acting young and thinking young (oh, I wish I owned this idea, too).

Another sign of summer's waning: goldenrod at Sweetened Water Pond.

So, when you see me walking, remember, I'm not doing nothing - I'm thinking.

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