I love the sight of a path ahead of me. I love the way it stretches into trees or grass or a field of flowers, and I love it better if it’s narrow. A narrow dirt path is a quiet place. It swaddles me between its green sides, safe and contained. No matter how many times I’ve walked upon the trail, I’ll never be bored of seeing butterfly weed blooming orange, and the monarchs with their matching wings settling to rest on their blooms. I’m always happy to meet the tree that offers a bit of shade to the yellowing grass.
On Martha’s Vineyard, there are many of these trails. They circumnavigate small farms and cut across fields that have been left to grow out. One path pushes through a bank of goldenrod to the coastline, where a small bay with a precious beach lies peacefully waiting. Luckily for me, trails are not the main draw of the island in the summer. Tourists seem to prefer the beach or the T-shirt shops of town, and year-long residents have other things to do. I often find myself alone on the path, just me and the birds and the heat.