Remembering a Summer Morning

February 12, 2012
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I ran up the dunes and screamed with excitement. I called to my grandpa from what felt like a great height, "Poppy! Walk faster! You're going to miss it, run!" Finally, a deer, right in front of my eyes. "Look over there, it's right next to the sun!" I couldn't stop squealing, I think that's what made the deer run away so quickly, but my excitement was uncontrollable. I remember the feeling of exhilaration like it was yesterday rather then nine years ago when I was only seven. I know, it doesn't seem like something you should get so excited about, but first you must understand the circumstances.

This was on the last morning of one of my annual summer trips to my grandparents house on the island of Nantucket. Those two weeks every summer are what always make me wish it was August for eleven months of the year. Nothing made me happier then or now than two weeks of peace and quiet with my family, reading on the beach, feeding ducks, watching seals, and especially morning walks with my grandpa. Every morning at around six my grandpa would walk to my room and tell me its time to go find the deer. The prospect of seeing a deer for the first time never failed to make me jump out of bed. Yes, after years of this ritual I still had not seen a deer. Had it not been for the the tracks we found in the sand I would never have believed a a single deer even lived on the island.

This particular morning was especially damp and cold. The moment i stepped of our porch the beautiful smell of the ocean came over me. We walked our usual path towards the beach in silence. It wasn't an uncomfortable silence but a peaceful one. It was like the world hadn't yet woken up and we didn't want to disturb it. As we walked the sun began to rise, the birds began to sing, but still we were the only people out. "Look over here Liana! These prints are fresh, a deer must have just crossed through here." By now I had learned to identify the tracks along with those of rabbits and different types of birds. We reached the beach and sat down on a piece of driftwood. We watched seals playing in the sparkling water. I could have sat there for hours but my grandpa insisted we march on on our mission. We crossed carefully through the dunes towards a quiet pond where the deer go to drink. We always find the most tracks there. Once I reached the top of a hill I looked down at the pond and saw no deer. I only saw a few swan hiding behind brush. I became slightly exasperated. I walked down the hill while dragging my feet and sat down in an old canoe to skulk. My grandpa slowly followed behind me and asked me why I was upset. I explained how I was already seven years old and it was utterly ridiculous I still had never laid my eyes upon a deer. I even accused him of making the tracks to fool me, they couldn't possible be real.

I knew complaining was a mistake once he began a rambling speech about the value of patience and persistence. I busied myself by watching a spider walk around its sparkling, dew covered web. I watched the family of swans still pointlessly circling the lake and the way the wind made the cattails sway. I half listened to his words of wisdom, about how I should never give up on a goal just because it takes time to reach it. We had been out a while by now and decided to walk back towards the house for breakfast so I could get to the airport on time. We walked back up the hill, leaving the pond us. I turned around to give one last look at the rolling, grassy hills. I knew it would be another year until i returned, the thought tortured me. And then I saw it, standing right by the pond with Its silhouette in front of the sun. The deer in that setting was truly one of the most magnificent things I had ever seen. It was huge and stoic looking as it stared at me, a squealing seven year old practically dragging my grandfather up a hill. It was worth it.

Patience and persistence, it turned out, was truly the key. My Grandpa knew what he was talking about. This memory is something I cherish, I remember it so vividly. It was the last time my grandpa and I ever walked together in Nantucket, health reasons keep him from doing that anymore. When I go back to this day, I sit in the very same canoe and think and remember. It's a place I think about time and growing up and wish such simple things still brought me the same excitement. But memories like this never fail to make me smile.

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