07 Sep 2015

A Nantucket Cat Nap

Inspirational author and speaker Martha Beck provided some encouraging food for thought when she said, “Rest until you feel like playing, then play until you feel like resting, period. Never do anything else.” For many of the visitors and seasonal residents of Nantucket this mantra is what summer is all about…the island is the place where they come to play and rest. For those of us in the service industry, the advice may seem like a lofty goal…and yet now that September is on the calendar, both play and rest appear just within reach.
The cat in the attached photo, snapped in August, is an ideal depiction of how many of us feel by late summer. For guests and summer residents, it represents how the island invites us to shake off the problems of the world, settle in to the first comfy spot we stumble across…a beach chair in the sand, a hammock on the lawn or a daybed on grandma’s sleeping porch…to exhale and let Nantucket restore us. For others, whose summer season is devoted to serving those who visit, the cat represents the blurry eyed exhaustion that consumes us by late in the season…when even the warm hood of a car near the town lot looks like a welcoming place to catch some z’s.
The beautiful thing about Nantucket is, whatever the season, the opportunities for both rest and play are abundant. Fall is the perfect time for long walks in Sanford Farms on a cool morning or an afternoon bike ride to Madaket to watch the sun dip below the horizon. The ocean is still warm so it’s fun to boogie board or surf at Cisco or just dive in for a late day swim in Dionis. For the truly adventurous, there’s nothing like letting a little air out of the tires, tossing a couple fishing poles in the back end and heading out to Great Point for a day of the ultimate rest and play combo.
It’s ironic how the onset of fall reminds us that the same rest and reprieve that the island graciously extended to its summer visitors remains available to nurture and refresh the year round residents as well. It’s as if we all play musical beach chairs…sending our friends or family members back to school, to their every-day work routines or to other commitments in the “real world” while we pause to exhale, stretch wide our arms and give thanks for another successful season on Nantucket and give ourselves permission to rest.
Whether you just spent a few days or an entire summer on Nantucket and plan to return soon or you have the pleasure of calling the island home, try your hand at Martha’s advice and commit to spending some time dedicated to play and rest. Grab your tennis racket or golf clubs, stop by Mitchell’s Book Corner for the latest best seller or simply toss your beach blanket on the first slice of sand you encounter and close your eyes.
Shellie Dunlap
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