Editor’s Note: The following piece, titled From a Gay Head Picture Album, was published in the Gazette in June 1971. Yvette Eastman died Jan. 13 at the age of 101.
These are the moors that tumble from our hilltop to the little shell and stone washed beach. Our golden dog, weaving a ribbon of orange silk through the beach plum and huckleberry bushes, scares to flight a family of quails and a berry nibbling gull. She comes back, laughing. These are the wild, gentle-pink roses in June when the sun curls to reach the underside of a blade of grass and the outgoing breath of a small breeze barely nudges the feelers of a shiny bug nuzzling in the fold of a petal. And there is a field, buttered with dabs of summer yellow.
Here is the wide into-forever shore of the ocean. That’s a dead trash fish with the comedian’s mouth in sorrow. There, by that grass-whiskered dune, lies a silky log sea-shined to faun-silver. Way over there, the insisting blue of a plastic toy wheel still lives and those feather covered eggs, lying on their sides atop skinny, running stilts are sandpipers, embroidering cross stitches on the wet hem of the beach, and basting on starfish stars.
That’s a monarch butterfly balancing on a thistle’s heart; and there: the heron, hunched over Herring Creek at dusk, waits for the love-doomed herrings’ journey’s end.
And this, this is Menemsha Pond. At dawn, an oval sleeping on its side, covered by a night-blue blanket hemmed in inky black, slowly waking to a wide angle coral stripe trailing rose wisps like strands of hair on the east sky. A peach curtain is lowered and red spots rip through, meeting to form a half circle, craning higher and rounded until the blinding gold erases the shape of the rising sun that comes into the house and touches the corner of a table, the arm of a chair.
That on a cloudless summer afternoon is a ballet by the racing Sunfish sails, so serious in their pleasure.
That is a party and here, out of focus, are the hundred chipped fragments of talk and light laughter voicing the up sound of not-important questions.
And this is fog . . . fog that sometimes sits and sits an inch above our tallness, waiting like an eighth month pregnancy to deliver. This pin dot light through the mist is the head of a wish to go upstairs to the sky and weed it from the eye of the sun. Else, rather the slow, silent, feather-slanted rain that intermittently becomes dropping and tapping,
That is November morning: two little scalloping boats, as though cut out of dark kindergarten paper and pasted on the pond, stand still on a pale sun ray that pushed through frown-darkling spokes to look like the pictures of The Annunciation. And this over here is later, that evening, when the embers from a setting sun dropped into the spreading colors of a bruise.
This? This is the half-light of ending day bringing the no-reason sadness for all the things that were . . . and are.
This is Christmas with deep snow. Our cat walks with purpose down the slope of the hill, along the little plowed path between the new frosted pines that leads to a poet’s grave. There is an awesome quiet splendor that is to borrow his words “. . . mystic, worshipful . . . as though the past should answer me, and I in pagan solitude bow down my head.”