Martha’s Vineyard is remarkable for its intimate communities. Think of the Camp Ground, the Highlands, East and West Chop and my community, Harthaven. If we are lucky enough to live in such places, the landscape contains deep memories of friends and family — and their spirits.

So-called “primitive” people experience a primal connection to their land that expresses this deep emotional sense of place. The First People of Australia, for example, conceive of their world as crisscrossed with songlines, gossamer spirit paths left behind by the ancestors. The ancestors created the landscape and gave it meaning, so when a person native to Australia goes on a ‘walkabout’, following the songlines, she participates in that act of creation and experiences a direct connection to her past — to the seeding of her bloodline.

I will always remember my parents’ voices rising through the floorboards of our home in Harthaven, bathing me in their stories and laughter, as I went to sleep in a tiny bedroom over the dining room. When I steer my skiff back into the harbor, I recall standing next to my father in his boat, the heat rising from the engine and the smell of fish from the wire basket. I see my grandfather standing in front of his house. He holds up his hands, palms upward — a shared family semaphore. “How many fish?” We hold up the requisite number of fingers.

Wherever I go I feel the touch of my ancestors — friendly spirits — and I often talk to them. I walk their songlines and I listen for their voices.

I think all of us who live here on Martha’s Vineyard are creating these songlines — these special memories. It’s what makes this place our home.

Sam Low lives in Oak Bluffs.