I read with relief and affection the op-ed by Dr. Henry Nieder, and the letter from Julia Mitchell Christensen. I am an Aquinnah homeowner, and began my relationship with the Island in my mom’s tummy in 1957. My family summered on Dogfish Bar from 1962 until my father died in 2004, and then some years later my husband and I bought our own home not far from that shore. So many seasonal visitors like me are craving time on the Island. Not just to feel safer in a rural area, but because the Island, the ocean, the quiet, seeing (from a distance and behind a mask) my longtime dear Island friends, would be healing. These days my yearning to pack up the car and my dog and head to Aquinnah is like a physical ache.

I have not headed up north for all the reasons Islanders have hoped visitors would stay away. To protect our friends there, to avoid using up limited supplies of food or god forbid, a hospital bed, but also to avoid the anger and rejection from Island folks. Experiencing that would simply break my heart.

So I have stayed away. But when I read Dr. Nieder’s piece, and the letter from Ms. Christensen, the sadness I have felt when reading about Island anger and fear of “others” calmed. I am so glad to know there are many on the Island who see seasonal visitors who have long loved the Island as friends. As people who cherish the Island as they do.

I worry for everyone on the Island, and I wish everyone to be safe. If and when I am able to stop sheltering in place, I may visit — and will happily quarantine for 14 days because I want everyone else to be safe. And because I will have no need to go anywhere. I will be home.

Lisa Herrick

Washington, D.C. and Aquinnah