It is always with a heavy heart that I “take up my pen”, as correspondents said in pre-typewriter days, and write my summer farewell to you, within the confines of my beloved town column. Normally Bettye Baker of D.C. and Oak Bluffs reports on the coming torrid months, but Bettye and husband Bill will be occupied in the capital for health reasons. (Good wishes will be much appreciated in the Baker camp.) My neighbor and friend Skip Finley has consented to do the heavy lifting of writing this column in the high season.

Last thoughts? Well, I have finally figured out the difference between nomads and settlers. The reason I’ve figured this out is that I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m a nomad in a settler’s life. I’ve now resided year-round on this Island for 21 years. Frankly, I don’t know quite what I’m doing, still here, and yet I can’t imagine being anyplace else. Oh, maybe in an Italian hill town with a distant view of the sea. Just need to work out the financial logistics.

Nomads, who are often romantics and writers and artists, experience memories on a deeper level, and this has the capacity to torment us. Moving from place to place can ease this condition. New sights and sounds distract us from dwelling in the past. And virtually no sights and sounds exist in a new location to remind us of, say, spaghetti dinners at the Oak Bluffs school for the eighth grade trip, dished up in the kitchen by parents — salads and linguini with marinara sauce, or . . . this June’s graduation in the Tabernacle, summoning forth, like Proust’s madeleine, a graduation 10 years ago, when Grandma Betty was still alive and in attendance. This thought in turn makes you chuckle at how she might react today, were she still here, regarding her grandson’s recent trip to Thailand, “Why look for trouble?” (She said this about ski trips and days at the beach and last-minute jaunts to the package store.)

I recently perched, on a late afternoon, on Jason and Injy Lew’s deck, overlooking the harbor and East Chop Beach. It was the same seascape, the same fading light filtering through low-lying clouds, and yet it was more timeless and precious, and also more painful in its two-thousand-and-fifty-seventh viewing. So many kids, plus the Lews’ kids, have romped on this deck, now all of them grown and filling out their vast potential, the farthest afield young Sophie Lew in Buenos Aires. (Now there’s another “Why look for trouble?” from Grandma Betty.)

Comedy writer (and my ex-husband) Marty Nadler was seated across the table, up from Florida on a visit (he’ll be back for a longer stint in July; don’t expect to see his bronzed-god of a tanned face in August).

Marty positioned himself in the single chair that faced away from the sea and sky, and he pointedly extracted gratitude from the rest of us for this supreme sacrifice.

When Jason later exclaimed over the richness of the sunset, Marty stared at him and said, dead-pan, “Could you describe it to me?”

Still funny after all these years.

Aldous Huxley, in one of his brilliant essays on matters spiritual and psychological, compared memories to distractions (what today is fashionably called “monkey mind”), and defined them as “irrelevant and pointless. To find out just how pointless and irrelevant they can be, one has only to sit down and try to recollect oneself. Preoccupations connected with the passions will probably come to the surface of consciousness; but along with them will rise a bobbling scum of miscellaneous memories, notions and imaginings.”

A bobbling scum. Why look for trouble?

And so we press on, those of us who love this Island, this town, and yet have accumulated too many recollections, too many layers of history, of loss, of change, although the constant is indeed love for family, friends, neighbors, including those who come and go, and those who’ve come and gone.

So be well. I’ll see you around town. I’ll still be writing for this great paper, so that too shall keep us in touch.

Blessings to Bettye and Bill Baker and to Skip Finley.

And to everyone else, ciao, baby!