We don’t get to write our own stories. Rather, we are the unauthorized autobiographers of our lives — we may believe that the words on the page are our own, but there is, in fact, something (or someone) much larger than ourselves at work on the typewriter. If we were indeed the writer of our fate, we surely wouldn’t include chapters in which we lose family, pets, and our home. We do, however, affect our stories — they are not preordained. Our fate is fluid; pages are written and rewritten as we act and react. But we will never truly know the writer’s mind — as much as we may expect an action to produce a result, there is no guarantee that it will. All of this, this lack of control, this absence of respect for our desires, can be frustrating and saddening. We may wish for a Hemingway ending, but get a Sidney Sheldon one instead. And yet...

Everything happens for a reason.

We will never be privy to this reasoning, but we are complicit in the understanding that someone needs to fit the puzzle pieces together — weave our individual stories into an enormous tome. Like the baseball team that plays a game in the snow in Cleveland in early April, we may question “why are we here?”, but still retain the kernel of knowledge that this is somehow for the best of everyone. If, for instance, we all were give unfettered authorship of our lives, who among us would voluntarily adjust his or her story to accommodate the conflicting need of another. It all must fit. And we haven’t a clue as to how to fit it. So we turn in our pens (or have them forcibly taken) and do the best we can to guide the unseen hand to write some favorable words.

So...The Big Camp sold (to a very nice family). With it went my cabin, and our pick-up sticks barn. We tried to stay together, the Big Camp and us, but as in an amicable divorce, we decided that we were better off without each other. She needed more than we could give her, and we’d rather see her happy with someone else than struggling with us. Ours will be a clean break as well, no awkward lingering or late night calls — we’ll let her thrive on her own terms.

So yes, I am saddened. But I am also grateful. Yesterday, I stood on a sturdy lip of sod overhanging our bitten-into bluff, and attempted to take it all in. All the memories. The holding of hands while lying on the scratchy grass of the golf course and watching the planes on their unknown destinations. The after-Wasque outside showers with their unmistakable alchemy of smells — wet sand, shampoo, and plywood. The planned family work weeks that evolved more into successive nights out for early dinners than their intended painting parties. I tried very hard to let the melancholy, the loss, wash over me. But it never happened. Instead I felt quiet and settled. Ready to turn the page.

It is time. Time for the sun to set on another set of sandals on the The Big Camp porch. My story, the one in which I could be seen through a lit window, a bulky fisherman’s sweater itching at my neck, whilst pensively puffing on a pipe (unlit, and only for effect), scribing the Great Chappaquiddick Novel while the sea raged outside and below me...that story, that romance, was never mine. My real story has many pages remaining, and I can’t wait to read them later.

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