One of my favourite things about being on the Island is that not only do we have family, but we have extended family, and friends that have been so close for so long, through generations, that they have become family. It is so rich and varied, across generations and experiences, and something I doubt I will ever be able to express adequate gratitude for.
One morning, a dear family/friend guided us up the mountain he has been hiking for decades. Simon and I went with some of the older cousins and his Mum. It was splendid: the diversity of min-eco-habitats (obviously not a biologist here), the views, the inukshuk villages, the company, the nephew who wanted to fling himslef over the edge (well, perhaps not that part). I can see why Greg goes up Tzouhalem most days. I certainly would if I could.
Most of the rest of our time saw a regular flow of visits and visitors. I have not nearly captured all of them or everything, but still, enough to hopefully remember things by. There is something very dear about sitting under the cherry tree that Simon's parents planted at their wedding, that his cousin leaned against while in labour, that all of the cousins have climbed on and eaten from and swung from, too. It isn't that we did very much-- pulling down ivy and collecting golf balls and riding wagons in suicidal manners-- but that we got to do it together, in a lovely, meandering and relaxed sort of way.
Even before we get on that ferry back home, we are already planning when we can return. Some people and places seem blessed, almost sacred in how much they hold onto your heart. It is a special gift to get a chance like we've had to spend some time there with them.