Islands

“Best of an island is, once you get there – you can’t go any farther …
you’ve come to the end of things….”

Agatha Christie,
And Then There Were None

By some happenstance of venture and misadventure, I once was the owner of three homes that shared a common trait -- all of them were on islands.

Vieques, an island off the island of Puerto Rico, where we operate a bed-and-breakfast.
Vieques, an island off the island of Puerto Rico, where we operate a bed-and-breakfast.

The island of Manhattan, where we had a business office and apartment.
The island of Manhattan, where we had a business office and apartment.

Cape Cod, home to our Truro B & B, became an island 540 feet off the mainland when the canal was dug in 1914.
Cape Cod, home to our Truro B & B, became an island 540 feet off the mainland when the canal was dug in 1914.

So it was understandable that I was interviewed by the Financial Times about my experience in living on three different islands. I pitched my talking points around what I knew interested their readers. Here’s some of what the reporter wrote:

“Everything is likely to be more expensive on an island,” says media entrepreneur Peter Yaremko – who splits his time between the islands of Manhattan, Vieques and Cape Cod. “But with only a fixed amount of land available for development, real estate values have a much better chance of increasing.”

Our human ancestors have since pre-historic times sought to dwell near bodies of water.

And living on an island is even better than pitching your tent on the coastline of an ocean or on the shoreline of a river or lake.

Here’s why:

When you live on an island, you enjoy – at the same time – both a sense of separateness from the pack and also the ability to connect when you choose to, by bridge or boat.

This is probably most true of Manhattan, and may explain the assertive attitude of people who live there.

Some might say that the attitude of islanders, which I called assertive, might more rightly be termed uppity. Snobby, even.

For example, the ancient Wampanoag of Cape Cod were isolated from any neighboring tribes, and it was said that they avoided the mainland “because they have become one with the eastern ocean, and it is their delight.”

I wouldn’t call that snobby, would you?

Then again … how else to explain these lyrics of Laurie Anderson’s song?

And there was a beautiful view
But nobody could see
Cause everybody on the island
Was saying “Look at me! Look at me!”

As my wisdom increases with increasing age, I find myself settling back and agreeing with Herman Wouk.

He bought and operated a hotel in the West Indies for several years, something like what I’ve been doing.

He turned his adventures in island living into an entertaining and spot-on novel titled, Don’t Stop the Carnival.

And he nails it:

“This comes from a piece of wisdom that his climate of eternal summer teaches him. It is that, under all the parade of human effort and noise, today is like yesterday, and tomorrow will be like today; that existence is a wheel of recurring patterns from which no one escapes; that all anybody does in this life is live for a while and then die for good, without finding out much; and that therefore the idea is to take things easy and enjoy the passing time under the sun.”

In my next blog, “Birds of Paradise”


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  • published this page in Blog 2014-10-27 11:08:30 -0400