First Light On The Islands

photographs and text by Polly Saltonstall

Editors note: On the last day of summer we reflect with Polly
on a season full of so much beauty.


The weather in Maine this summer has not been as hot as some of us might like, but as far as I’m concerned the sunrises and sunsets have more than made up for the mediocre midday action. I spent last weekend with my family in a small cabin perched on a cliff jutting over the water at the eastern entrance to the Fox Island Thoroughfare.


I’m not sure what awoke me. Maybe the absolute stillness, no waves lapping at the rocks below, no wind rustling the pine boughs. Maybe it was the intense glow, like a fire, a good fire, though.

Once I sat up in bed and saw what was happening I was transfixed.

I couldn’t stop taking photos. The sky and the water were one. The black silhouette of the land was as sharp in the water as it was against the sky, like an ink smudge along the crease of a folded piece of paper.


Who could tell whether the mirror was above or below. A few clouds added softness. The fir trees watched the scene with me.


The sliver of moon took it’s time going to bed for the day.


This is the country of the pointed firs, after all.


Our little cabin looked like a fairy tale house when I looked back at it from the dock.


The view toward our boat on the dock and North Haven beyond reminded me where we had come from and which way was up.


The Schooner American Eagle was moored in the Thoroughfare.


As I watched from my perch on the narrow porch, boat-builder Foy Brown drove by in his small outboard, commuting to Brown’s Boatyard in North Haven from his houseboat in Perry’s Creek. The buzz from his engine and the ripples from its wake hitting the rocks broke the stillness, but only for a few minutes.





Good morning North Haven; Good morning Vinalhaven; Good morning Maine. I love being a part of you.