The following was submitted by reader Lynn Dean:
We have been enjoying your beautiful island for over 25 years. My daughter, Rebecca, was recently accepted to the University of New Hampshire and used this essay for her application. I thought you might want to experience arriving to your island through the eyes of a 17-year old.
Think of your favorite sounds. Is it your mother’s voice? A child laughing?
The rain hitting the roof as you fall asleep? Think of your favorite scents, your favorite touch, your favorite sight and taste.
A metallic noise breaks the silence. The engine shifts from rest to life, a crescendo signalling the beginning of a journey. The vibration of metal against my skin rattles my bones, the engine’s piercing pitch causes shivers. Everywhere, the sound of metal chains slide against the deck. Above my head, the horn blasts a loud honk into the air. To most, these sounds are unpleasant. To me, these sounds bring a surge of happiness.
As I run to the front of the boat, I focus on the hollow sounds of my feet slamming against the deck. My elbow hits the railing, making a clink sound.
Although it hurts, I’m too happy to care. Above me, gulls squawk happily, and below the water crashes against the boat. The sound is comforting.
I can smell the salt water so clearly. It reminds me of the beach, where I run my fingers through the sand and search for sand dollars. It reminds me of the jetty I walk on every evening to watch heavenly sunsets. It reminds me of my home on the beach where I can fall asleep to the sound of the surf and a distant foghorn.
I watch the waves curl against the boat. They are huge, and it is mesmerizing watching the waves crash. The wind is ripping, and a sunburn is already forming where the sun beats down on my pale skin. I am too cold and too hot at the same time, but somehow both the wind and the sun are comforting. My hair whips around and hits my face. I push it out of the way, smiling at the sight before me.
Block Island stretches out in front of me. The lighthouse is right at the tip, the beach on either side. As the boat rounds the bend, I see the beach shack, and I can almost taste the juicy chicken that is my daily lunch. I can see my house, and the town, and my favorite jetty. I see boats in the harbor, airplanes in the air, and the new wind farm on the far side of the island. I can see everything I love about this island, and I squeal out of joy. It’s all right here, right in front of me.
One week later, I’m in the same position. The whole island is in my sight. The sun is still beating down on me. The wind is still ripping, causing the same waves. The waves are not nearly as intriguing, and I’m almost annoyed that I’m being splashed. My hair hits my face again, but instead of a smile, it hits a frown. When the engine roars to life, my heart sinks, and this time, I can’t bring myself to even wait to hear the horn. All my favorite things are here, now as my least favorite things. They will not become my favorite things again for another 51 weeks, when I’m finally back on the Block Island Ferry, headed to my paradise, instead of away from it.