It had been blowing at 20 knots from the north all day, and it was forecast to blow from the northwest all night.  Most harbors are protected form the prevailing southwest, but Georges Harbor, between Allen and Benner – awful in a southwest – would provide good protection in this wind and sea.  We rounded Old Cilley Ledge, bouncing over a cross-chop in a shiny metaled sea, but it settled down immediately we entered the narrow passage of the harbor.

Andrew Wyeth bought these islands many years ago from a group of owners who included my father.  Since, he cleared the north end of trees and built a series of buildings in various New England architectural styles.  At first, they looked a bit Toytown, but with age they have mellowed into the island landscape.

A woman with gray hair on the dock, I presume Betsy Wyeth, offered us a mooring on our way in, and we gratefully accepted.  The afternoon waned in peace, the goats who keep the brush down wandered onto the high pier, the evening descended upon us; we and the Wyeths, judging by lights out, went to bed at the same time.

In the morning, after a good breakfast to shore us up for the long sail home, I raised the main, left it loose and backed the jib to turn us on a dime, slipping off the mooring and up the slender harbor between the other boats.  The screen door of the perfect, spare, silvery gray Cape opened, and a spare old man with silvery hair and wide shoulders lifted his arm and said “Beautiful!”  We lifted our arms in return salute, too floored to speak, until we thought to offer a belated “Thank you” for the use of the mooring.

It’s not often you get called beautiful by the most understood painter in America.


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