“The world is too much with us …”
Those words were written in 1802 by William Wordsworth. We can only imagine what the poet would make of America in 2019.
Getting the news these days often seems like receiving urgent dispatches from a train going much too fast to stay on the rails with the engineer asleep at the switch.
Last weekend Shelter Island was an oasis of ease, enjoyment and a time to appreciate what we have and celebrate the community that sustains us.
It didn’t just happen, but took the work of Islanders giving their time and efforts for the benefit of all, with great food and company, a duck race to delight all ages and a free tour showcasing the creativity and innovation of a select group of our neighbors.
The Shelter Island Fire Department’s 56th annual Chicken Barbecue at Fireman’s Field was another sign that the volunteers, who respond to emergencies, also know how to manage a great communal feast. It’s estimated that all of the work to bring off the event, including getting permits and filings completed, setting up the field for deliveries, parking, cooking and serving, along with cleaning up and tearing down the site takes — are you ready? —2,060 man and woman hours. That comes to about 86 days.
But if you were there on Saturday — and lucky you because the chicken was scrumptious and the corn was sweeter than ever — you saw that our Fire Department’s men and women and those of the Emergency Medical Services were all smiles down to the last chicken grilled and eaten.
The same can be said for all the Islanders and their guests who went home with full bellies and warm memories of a splendid community gathering. And also, our homebound neighbors were not forgotten, but received meals from volunteers.
Saturday and Sunday also marked the 10th annual ArtSI Open Studio tour where, with no admission price, Islanders and guests could explore the places where art is made and speak with the makers, those magicians who enchant, educate and touch us all.
And Saturday, kids and adults could see how a duck — rubber, yellow, but a duck nevertheless — races. Thanks to the Chamber of Commerce for again sponsoring the annual Duck Race, which kicks off with one of the great images of the summer, when a barrel of the ducks flow as one yellow mass from Bridge Street into Chase Creek.
No matter how old you are when you see it, you are immediately 5 years old again.
May the world of Shelter Island, like last weekend, always be with us.