For the past two weeks on the Vineyard I have been on the lookout for Barack Obama. Peering into the golf course while on my morning run to see if he’s on the green where we saw him last year. Checking at Nancy’s when we go by to see if he and Michelle are standing in the crowd waiting to get a fried clam roll. Hoping he and Sasha and Malia will be at Mad Martha’s Ice Cream when we go to get ice cream just that one time this visit. Dining at State Road, hoping he will be there dining with friends across from us rather than missing him by just one night as we seem to do every summer. Wondering when we are in Bunch of Grapes what he got this year for his summer reading. Maybe he hasn’t been in yet and will be walking in any moment. On the lookout, but no such luck. Then, I realized, I have seen him here.

I saw him in my dreams one night having dinner with our neighbors on an old rambling Victorian veranda. I heard him in my thoughts the day the angry young man in Vineyard Haven violated the space of a Trump resister. He was saying, “If you can learn to hate, you can learn to love.” I saw him in the laughter of the African American kids running on the beach and playing in the water at the Inkwell. He was in the face of 95-year-old Oak Bluff resident and Boston College professor emeritus, Elaine Pinderhughes, as we chatted on her front porch. I saw Michelle blowing out the candles in celebration of Rosemarie Davis’s 93rd birthday. And Barack and Michelle were right there in front of me when I was feeling so angry and hopeless about our country this week, reminding me that these are teachable times. I actually ran into him about 10 times last week when folks around town stopped my husband, Tim, to ask him about his “Obama, He’s My Dee Jay” T-shirt that was designed by JWU students during 2007, a time when we were all feeling so hopeful.

I think I’ll stop looking now, knowing he’s out there somewhere in Chilmark, relaxing, enjoying his family and friends, taking in the beauty of this Island without having the weight of the world on his shoulders. I’ll take solace in knowing that if we all work together and do not remain silent, if we continue to fight for what is right, the winds of change will shift.

Now, if I could only run into him on Illumination Night.

Lynn McCarthy
Oak Bluffs