Block Island Journal

A perfect June afternoon is slipping away. The ocean is even bluer than the cloudless sky, and from the deck of my little cottage set perilously on the high Mohegan Bluffs, I must have one of the best views on Block Island.

This has always been a special place for me. It was home to William Stringfellow during the last part of his life. I have been coming here for almost 20 years--for retreat, rest, and the closest thing to vacations I took during the early years of Sojourners. The cottage Bill had built for Daniel Berrigan after he got out of prison is the remaining foothold on the island of the old circle of radical Christians who found refreshment, discernment, and companionship in the community created around Bill Stringfellow's home.

Today, the novel I have been reading is almost finished. Soon the moon will rise right in front of me, over the Atlantic, which is smooth and peaceful. I glance back toward the west and am startled by the glorious sight. The setting sun is already a blazing red ball....The lighthouse!

I jump in the truck and head down Spring Road, past the quaint hotels, restaurants, shops, and art galleries that face the waterfront. The ferry that brought me here last night rests at the dock, a good day's work finished. Now, out to Corn Neck Road and the north end of the island. Where the road ends, a few other people have gathered to witness the sunset. It is going to be spectacular.

Wanting to get as close to the sun as I can, I take to the beach and head toward the North Light, now silhouetted against the multicolored horizon. I have made this walk many times before; the reward is always worth the long hike.

Past the old stone lighthouse (which still warns sailors lest they venture too close to the rocky shores), is a long sand spit that ends where the tides from the east and west sides of the island crash together and spray the sky.

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