Many people often assume that folks must be rich if they have a
Nantucket zip code. This assumption is one of our local inside jokes. Because we know that nothing could be further from the truth. For most who live year round on this summer resort island thirty miles out to sea, life is hard. With the highest grossing branch of Stop & Shop supermarkets in the entire country, and the additional shipping costs of many of our resources that put a high premium on everything from screws to fuel, we must support a very high cost of living. Most people work a few jobs just to get by. And if you want to go anywhere else, well, you start adding the cost of planes and boats and rental cars to the cost of travel, and you are talking about putting down a lot of loot.
Year round life on
Nantucket takes a certain person. A certain character. If you aren’t that person when you get here, the winters will season you fast. We are physically disconnected from the mainland, and we don’t have any traffic lights. The cobblestones streets, the dirt roads and the uninterrupted stretches of beach and the abundant nature conservancy give it a real old world feel. On warm, rainy nights down by the docks you can still smell the whale oil. We are rich in quaintness and breathtaking views and a tight knit sense of community that’s rendered from our common isolation. We have what is I believe one of the very first Historic District Commissions ever established in the country. We have an annual town meeting. To live here is to have a sense of reverence for the past. It is quintessentially nostalgic.
Now that I am a mom, I am realizing how much the simplicity of life here is an asset. I have been losing sleep worrying about how I’m going to support my son and give him a good life, a life that isn’t merely rich in love but also rich in the opportunities and experiences that can come from having means. You know, the ski trips and the summer camps and that trip to
you always wanted to take. Not to mention music lessons and colleges and medicines should he god forbid become ill. You all know the hankering, nagging fears. You twitch with them at night the way your kids twitch with growing pains. If you're lucky, you remember to close the window as the birds start to sing so you can catch a little more shuteye. Alaska
Thank god I did get that shut eye. Because I can relax a little today, and look around and see the abundance all around me. New summer blossoms have left bursts of color all around our yard. There are new sprouts from the vegetable seeds we recently put in our garden. We have farms and fisheries right here. We have talented artisans and musicians and teachers and businesswomen and men. We have so much here at our disposal. So much at hand.
So while we may live hard we do live rich. I remind myself that it’s not all about fast tracking my toddler to the Ivy Leagues. What I give him just in being here day to day, sharing moments together like when a bee sips from the lavender, or the way the sun and rain left bright blossoms smattering the green like exclamation marks. So I guess whether I am rich or whether I’m poor is a matter of perspective. We don’t go out much, or drive fancy cars or talk on “smart” phones. But we can lull our little one to sleep at night with the sounds of the ocean and the wind in the trees. We can show him how he can dance along the tightropes of stars through his dreams.