Here Today . . .


It might seem like an ordinary spot.

Now, as then, one rock’s broad surface comfortably seats a man over six feet tall, allowing him to look up at the much slighter young woman facing him under a Long Nights Moon.

You faced the moon and I faced you. . . .

Technically I have been alone when revisiting the spot, in mind or body.  Even now, few couples would make the rocky climb on a December night. Its most perilous stretches had no guard rails then. Hemmed by poison ivy and washed by surf, scattered signs warned of the trek’s perils, beginning with the precipitous drop from unsteady earth to roiling sea. 

And we talked about the future we hoped to have and came to be

From the narrow, rutted path’s highest point, where the young man sits and she stands, an  overlook offers a panoramic view of the horizon, bracketed by ridged limestone shelves angled into the seabed, as glaciers had decreed.

img_6546 copyThe young man’s vision is razor-sharp, as it will remain all his life. Beyond his moonlit partner he sees a swath of inky, noisy ocean punctuated only by a rocky outcropping miles from shore. There, tiny Boon Island personifies the word “barren.” No less a luminary spirit than poet Celia Thaxter, of New Hampshire’s convivial close-knit Isles of Shoals and their blooming gardens, is said to have once described Boon Island as “the forlornest place that can be imagined.”   

Despite its size and solitude, its uneven granite has drawn in and grounded ships over the centuries. And more than one sturdy stone lighthouse there has been storm-toppled into the sea, rearranging itself into mazes on the ocean floor.

The distant toothpick of the most recently rebuilt lighthouse is in fact New England’s tallest. Standing at strict attention atop the granite pile where nothing grows, it laconically cycles its pure white light, lest another insufficiently attentive traveler come too close. 

Compared to its nearest neighbor, the gaudily scarlet-strobing, holiday-bedazzled and aggressively photographed Nubble Lighthouse, one would have to concentrate very carefully to commit this shy slender cousin to pixels or film. When one does, the tiny island itself often appears to be hovering above the water, as if it is present both as we know it to be and also its own ghost.

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At this spot my husband and I shared at the cliff’s edge, the only sound likely to be heard during any season gently floated upwards. Thousands of water-smoothed stones companionably clattered as waves cycled below. They mingle and chatter as each wave washes over them and recedes, resettling their companions only slightly as they all await the next incoming wave. The sound becomes less mellifluous only in the most ferocious storms–the rare, intense storms we sometimes do not sense are coming, and which might fell even the most dependable beacons.

It is no coincidence that this single quotidian patch of earth and rock snuck itself into  my subconscious memory, and in turn has played a role in both my  fiction and non-fiction.

My husband died almost twelve years ago, but I will always find him–and our younger selves and our future children–in this spot, at least as present as the rocky shore and surrounding sea, and the seagulls who pause to quietly survey the rising sun along with me.

Author: Stephanie

In her spare time, Stephanie works full-time, and then some, as an attorney. She has published articles and delivered talks in arcane fields like forensic evidentiary issues, jury instructions, and expert scientific witness preparation. She attended law school near the the banks of the Charles River and loves that dirty water; she will always think of Boston as her home. You are welcome to take a look at her Facebook author page, or follow @SMartinGlennon on Twitter and @schnitzelpond on Instagram. Bonus points for anyone who understands the Instagram handle. All content on this blog, unless otherwise attributed, is (c) 2012-2023 by Stephanie M. Glennon and should not be reproduced (in any form other than re-blogging in accordance with the wee Wordpress buttons at the bottom of each post) without the express permission of the domain holder.

24 thoughts on “Here Today . . .”

  1. Oh, this is beautiful. That you still have this to hold to yourself so dear and that it happened. Tearing up, though, that it can’t be shared now again. Beautifully put.

    1. Thank you so much. It’s strangely beautiful to share spaces when only one of us technically is still here. Sometimes, while I’m fervently wishing he were here with me at an outdoor spot, I really believe he is, sometimes even along with our fathers and our beagles and occasionally even our younger selves–always in happy times.

    1. I would like to go with that! My subconscious originally confused it with a sailing “boom.” Then I did a little digging and found a popular account of it being named for the “boon” of some sailors surviving a shipwreck miles out to sea….and then (as a career prosecutor who just can’t help myself) did more digging and found it was called Boon Island in some sailors’ accounts before that shipwreck…..not to mention being such an extraordinarily “mixed boon” (for the non-survivors) when some of the crew are said to have gone to Donner Party-lengths to survive that same shipwreck until rescuers ambled by…..I might need to work a fictional backstory into my next detective novel…..

    1. Fifteen years seems so vast in one way and so fleeting in looking back. For me it took at least a decade (and a very isolating pandemic) to find my Jim in serene settings (and in so much music!) and not be so consistently overwhelmed by his not being here with us in the traditional way. I feel almost at peace, most of the time, when I am technically by myself (to unattuned observers) but not alone.

    1. I’m so grateful for you continuing to read (always surprised when anyone wants to keep coming by the blog!), and would be honored if you read the book (if you do Ebooks, it’s there, too, and if you can’t find it let me know and I’ll get you a hardcover). It’s hard even for me to read parts of it, but I’m so glad I wrote it and it’s there for our kids and anyone who wants to read it.

      1. Thanks Stephanie, I’m sure I can get a copy – have put it on my ‘wishlist’ to remind me when I order. I do some Ebooks but don’t love them…

        I’m very much hit and miss on wordpress these days but was happy to see a post from you when I did log in x

  2. Hi there,,,,also still reading,,,haven’t missed a post – and have them all in a folder,,,I think of Jim often,,,,hope all is well in your world these days….love to all

    1. Mike! That means so much to me, that you think of him, too. Your friendship to him and coming up to visit meant so much to him and to all of us. When I finally traveled by myself up to Northwest Harbor–the last time I ventured farther than the home-to-work commute–I got the immense treat of visiting your son and daughter-in-law and now grandchildren, and thought about how lucky I am to not only have had the years I did with Jim, but to get to keep his friends in my life

  3. Your words, again, paint a special place, your personal moments so beautifully. Thank you, Stephanie.
    Health and peace be with you!

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