Wonder what this photo means?

by Sue Dawson


AT THIS VERY MOMENT, our lives are changing. It’s a pivotal time, as you can see from this photo…. Well … I can see it.

Give up?

Leaning next to the card tower are our “OPEN” flags for the gallery, and I just brought them in for the last time this season. You won’t see them flying outside here until next May. Until then, this space will be a teaching space (for our mentorship retreats and VIP days), a storage space (it can get a little Sanford & Son in here sometimes), a disorganized space (see me at tax time, with my teetering Jenga-esque piles of receipts and papers all over), and an inspiration space for our business. Of course, I’m happy to open the gallery for you, if you’d like to stop by. But the next time you’ll see the flags will be our Advanced Mentorship student show next May.

All around the Island, businesses are packing it in for the season. Of course there are lots of year-round businesses, or those that go through December. But many see Columbus Day as the end of the season. You can get half-priced doughnuts in town today, discounts on clothes and other goods, and the most important commodity – a parking space. The air is cooler, leaves are falling from the trees – just like everywhere else in New England. But here on Martha’s Vineyard, things will slow down a lot. Renters who do the “seasonal swap” have moved to their winter rentals, traffic is manageable, we have stand-by lines for every ferry, and some stores put paper up in their windows, “thank you for a great season!” signs, and lock their doors until next spring.

I always have mixed feelings at this time of year. I’m pretty psyched about having a day off every once in awhile, which I don’t get from Memorial Day weekend through mid-October. Alison and Jesse watched some of the Patriots game this afternoon, and from now on, I can watch too. And I can visit our daughter Sarah at college (haven’t seen her since August), go to New York for Photo Expo in a couple of weeks, and even start back at the gym.

Alison’s been working even more than me, lately. In the last three+ weeks, she taught three workshops, flew to the Adirondacks for a shoot, bought a new camera, and began planning some VIP days. Last night, after the third workshop ended and the gallery closed, we went home and ate dinner in front of two awesome movies, and then slept for a decadent ten-hour stretch. Eli, our workshop assistant teacher, apparently slept a record FIFTEEN hours last night. We’re all exhausted. But it’s good tired. It’s been a fantastic season.

So. What are we going to do with all this flexibility?

Tomorrow we start the first of three VIP days this week. We’re continuing our work with Advanced Mentorship students. We’ll go to Photo Expo and our daughter’s college, as I mentioned above. We’ll start organizing our basement (I’ve actually been looking forward to this) and getting rid of stuff. And on November 3rd, our 6-month Mentorship begins. There are only 5 spaces left, and I’m starting calls and emails to my list tomorrow – over 50 people have expressed interest in those 5 spaces. Call me soon (this week) if you’re interested in joining us!

So thank you. Thanks for a great season. It’s a little bittersweet to bring those flags in.

8 Responses

  1. Heather Goff says:

    Sue, I really enjoy your thoughtful posts, and this one is no exception. Your writing really puts a finger on the pulse of island life and running a business, as well as being part of a very creative team and I enjoy your insights. Thank you for writing them!

  2. Happy fall! I share many of your sentiments as well as the need for a bit of extra sleep these days. Enjoy those off-season endeavors!

  3. Dorothy Wass says:

    I enjoyed the blog. I am using my new IPad mini. The new computer that I bought on no tax day at Staples is NOT friendly. I am wondering what movies you watched. We have been watching some old ones with our Russian house guest..The Russians Are Coming the other night…she translated for us. I may drive up to UVM on Sunday with one of the twins for an open house.

  4. John Fries says:

    Hi Sue,

    I like this post. It reminds me of a book I read years ago–I think it was called The Winter People, and it described what things are like on the Vineyard during the winter off-season. I’ve long enjoyed Alison’s work, and your writing is excellent.


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