On approach to Chebeague Island for the 4th of July, I thought about the whole island as a shape of love. I’ve been going to Chebeague on the 4th since I was little, and our family’s island traditions today are the same as 42 years ago when my Dad won the first annual Chebeague Island Independence Day road race. Watching him sprint to the finish and cross the tape in first was a childhood thrill and a memory I accessed with a grin when I was in last place for the first mile and a half of this year’s race. 

The island and other 4th of July shapes I saw make up this list. What’s on yours?

1) Chebeague Island

2) Ice cream cone with jimmies

3) My aunt’s peonies

4) My uncle’s vegetable garden

5) A lazy hammock

6) Lucky horseshoe

7) Corn on the cob and a piece of watermelon (I couldn’t choose)

8) The finish line after 4.6 miles

9) Kids catching candy at the island parade

10) Fireworks and fireflies 

At the end of the day, I hugged my Aunt and Uncle good-bye and boarded the ferry back to Portland. As we pulled away from the big shape of love, I thought about the ocean hugging the island every day; its embrace changing with the tide and weather; boats sneaking kisses when they can.