Many years ago, the Inkwell was the only beach on the island of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts where people of color (mostly Black servants) were allowed to enjoy the beauty of the sea, according to historians. Since the color of ink is dark, this particular section of beach was dubbed the Inkwell.
“Yep, that’s pretty messed up, isn’t it?” I said to the half Black, half French owner of a store on the main street of Oak Bluffs, as I perused through the clothing attire with Inkwell blasted all over the fabric.
I guess for some people, it seemed like the area was full of “ink” with tons of black people enjoying the beach. Pretty ridiculous. But, on the other hand, I have to appreciate the history of my culture in the name. At least that was what the owner was trying to explain to me as I continued to look through his items in the store. “You have to appreciate it for what it is, our history,” he said. He made a valid point, I suppose.
Yesterday, my mother and I drove four hours to Massachusetts from New York and then took the ferry over to the picturesque neighborhood of Oak Bluffs in Martha’s Vineyard — off of the Woods Hole, Massachusetts dock. Just 30 minutes into the ride, you could tell we were about to arrive at our destination. A slew of people of all ages and ethnicities made their way out of the indoor section of the ferry to the exterior front of the boat to capture the signature gingerbread houses covered in colors of Easter Sunday: bubble gum pink, lavender, sky blue, sunshine yellow, sea turquoise … happy colors, with each of the cottage houses staging its own features and taking its place along the great lawn — a little slice of heaven near the beach.
As we made our way to the dock, you could feel the anticipation. Parents stood by with their babies asleep in their strollers, young and older couples clench their hands together in a lovingly manner, and one middle-aged woman helped her elderly father to the front so that he can see the view. The breathtaking view.
This is my 4th annual trip to the island; previous years I came with girl friends. But, you know, there is something special about coming to a place like this with your mother. There’s no need to have much conversation, you give each other space, and you enjoy the environment in your own kind of way, while spending an unsaid type of quality time with one another. The sound of the waves hitting the sea shores, the geese yapping away, the wind blowing, the creaking from the old doors of the cottage houses swinging … it is my happy place.
September in Martha’s Vineyard (a time when the Vineyard isn’t too crowded) provides an illustration of contentment that allows you to appreciate God’s simple works of art and a chance for you to detox your brain … all right here in the Inkwell, where you will still find many Black people, but also other races of people collectively enjoying the beauty of peace.
I wish I could stay here forever.