21 Oct 2014

Nantucket Is Illuminated

There’s a funny home décor sign in a downtown shop that reads, “If life is a stage, I seriously need better lighting.” The Nantucket “stage” never needs to worry about having a bad lighting day. Even on the gloomiest, grayest day of the year, the natural light seeps through and illuminates everything in its path. I’m certain there is some scientific explanation for the mechanics of it all (of which I admittedly am entirely unschooled in) but one thing is abundantly clear – with Indian Summer upon us, the beauty and splendor of the island is bathed in spectacular light.

I am continually amazed and some days downright awestruck by how the light showcases the various personalities of the island depending on the time of day. Early in the morning, as the eastern sky begins to brighten, the light dances off the dew covered lawn and surrounding conservation ground. At mid-day, the vibrant light tricks the naked eye into thinking one is viewing Nantucket through a Photoshop lens as it doesn’t seem possible the sky could be “that blue” or the hydrangeas the color of eggplant. At dusk, as the sun begins to dip into the Atlantic Ocean, the “wow factor” increases exponentially as the sky turns 50 shades of Crayola before dimming its lights completely for another day.

Nantucket photographers, painters and sculptors take full advantage of the island’s unique lighting. Local photographer, Dr. Greg Hinson is brilliant at showcasing the ever changing skies over the island. Wedding photographers Katie Kaizer and Zofia Crosby capture the sun-kissed glow of a new bride before the ceremony and then snag that “once in a lifetime” memory of the happy couple and their shadow strolling hand in hand on the beach. Nantucket artist Elle Foley creatively captures the sunlight dancing across the moors and Deb Sosebee beautifully illustrates the reflective light across the harbor.

It seems only appropriate, for this little island so awash in light, that the beacons to guide people here (even on the darkest or foggiest nights) come from the three famous lighthouses. For generations the seamen have been guided home to Nantucket and ferry boats carrying throngs of wide eyed tourists have made their way through the channel with the guiding lens of the lighthouse. When the lighthouses are illuminated, we’re reminded that even when the natural light is temporarily hidden we can trust in the steady and characteristic flash of the beacon to guide us to safety. Light, in any form, calms us down.

If you’re having a few gray days this fall, follow the Brant Point lighthouse beacon all the way to Nantucket where you can be sure to get an ample infusion of Vitamin D. Bring your camera or sketch pad to capture the majestic colors and scenery. Visit the Maria Mitchell observatory to get an up close view of the celestial night lights over the island. Or simply bring a blanket or beach chair to one of Nantucket’s beautiful beaches and let the sunshine refresh you.

Let it shine.

Shellie Dunlap

Shellie Dunlap - A Nantucket Experience

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