The Hand Holding Stone
By Daniel Kakitis
I was watching the small round Plovers scuttle busily about the newly exposed beach like a kinetic sightseeing group in a natural museum. My wife, Roxanne, who wandered a ways down the beach searching for shells and sea-glass, was whistling for our somewhat obedient dog, Gerty, who had her outpaced by an easy100 yards.
Gerty was also busy with the Plover, attempting to herd them into small clusters.
My wife and I were waiting for the sunset; something we began to do a few days after moving to the east end of the island fromMassachusetts. We would stow away a bottle of our current favorite local wine along with some cheese, bread and a blanket into my wife’s beach bag and make our way through the woods down to “our” beach. I know -I know, a couple of newbies referring to a stretch of beach close to their rented house, as “ours” would surely unnerve some of the Sunday morning regulars at the deli; however, not long after moving in, we did begin to refer to the area and its natural beauty as “ours” -“our” farm stand or “our” Goldsmith Inlet or “our” end of the island. It was easy to do. Still, being so far away from what we knew and the friends we had had for thirty-plus years was difficult. And, even though we had each other, we were still, “socially” alone.
I plowed the soft sand into small berms with my foot. Watching my wife gather Gerty from her short-lived romp with the Plover, I made my way toward them, creating perforations in the sand as I went. I watched as my wife bent and began skipping small flat stones out into the calm surf. Not to be out done, I too had begun searching for and skipping the flattest stones I could find. Before long we were in a competition. I had the lead with one of my throws producing three quick hops. Roxanne found a nice slick black beauty with delicate white veins running through it. She proudly held it up for my inspection. “Almost to pretty to skip,” I said. She smiled and leaned into a viscous side arm. That slick black beauty proved its worth and skimmed the surface of the Sound eight times. I stood in astonishment while Roxanne raised her hands in victory, dancing about like a prized fighter after delivering the knock out blow. Try as I might I was unable to best her black beauty.
We began to walk back along the beach and reflect on our move and how we felt about our new home. We thought about family and friends, our old haunts and the funny feeling leaving our home behind gave us. “We hadn’t had a good adventure in a long time,” my wife said. “Not since taking the bike north toMainewithout any real plans or anywhere to stay,” She looked at me, smiling.
We were touched by the graciousness of the people on the east end of the island. Roxanne had met some very kind souls at the Love Lane Market, where she had found work only a few days after we arrived. Roxanne has since changed jobs but most of those she had met in her first few months out here have remained and grown into very good friends. My wife’s nomadic job life has earned us quite a gathering of East Enders that we are now proud to call friends.
Nearing our path from the beach, we stood, wine in hand, watching the sunset paint the silky surface of the Sound with brilliant reds, oranges and pinks, dark blues and purples. It’s as if a new artist shows up each day to wash paint over the serene landscape.
The setting sun changes the terrain of the beach with each passing minute. My eyes focus on the shimmering braids of water washing back over the many stones piled at the waters edge. I see what may very well be the ultimate skipping stone resting just below the retreating tide. I reach out and snatch from the surf what might just equal the evenings stone skipping score.
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