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“Mostly I love the soft collision here of harbor and shore, the subtly haunting briny quality that all small towns have when they are situated on the sea. It is often manifested simply in the sounds of the place — sounds unknown to forlorn inland municipalities, even West Tilbury. To the stranger, these sounds might appear distracting, but as a fussy, easily distracted person who has written three large books within earshot of these sounds, I can affirm that they do not annoy at all. Indeed, they lull the mind and soul, these vagrant noises: the blast of the ferry horn — distant, melancholy — and the gentle thrumming of the ferry itself outward bound past the breakwater; the sizzling sound of sailboat hulls as they shear the waves; the luffing of sails and the muffled boom of the yacht club’s gun; the eerie wail of the breakwater siren in dense fog; the squabble and cry of gulls. And at night to fall gently asleep to the far-off moaning of the West Chop foghorn. And deep silence save for the faint chink-chinking of halyards against a single mast somewhere in the harbor’s darkness.

Vineyard Haven. Sleep. Bliss.”


The last paragraph of William Styron’s “In Vineyard Haven,” the final essay in his fantastic collection Havanas in Camelot: Personal Essays.

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