As I write, the weather is extraordinarily fine. Kevin’s airplanes of Penobscot Island Air are buzzing overhead as they should, and the harbor must be full of visiting boats — and, I suspect, empty of working boats — because my bakery has fed a good many summer sailors but no sternmen this morning. That means everybody’s out to haul. We have not seen many like this bright, dry day since well back in July. The past month has been a struggle with the fog. While the rest of the state had intermittent rain and occasional downpours, we’d get three drops to the acre, 100 percent humidity, and an aviation weather report that simply said, “Hah! Forget it.”

People who have not been here make the fair-enough (although incorrect) assumption that there is always some boat coming and going, and that “one of the guys will always take you to Rockland,” but that is not our reality unless some poor sap is in considerable distress. As transportation goes, you may find yourself one day stuck on the rock like doing ten-to-twenty in the Big House, and then the next day, both harbor and airstrip are hopping, “just like down town.”

Earlier this month we had the state ferry, the oil boat, and the Sunbeam all crowded around the Matinicus wharf at the same time. The ferry Everett Libby was here on an unscheduled day to deliver a Prock Marine crew with a welder to perform an emergency repair to an integral part of the ramp winch apparatus. The part had given up suddenly the day before. The Sunbeam was handling a funeral on the island that same day, and the tanker Captain Ray O’Neal was delivering diesel fuel to the power company. I was trying to bring a dozen homemade doughnuts to the repair gang and the ferry crew but the maintenance foreman, standing on the ramp keeping yahoos and gawkers away from the welder, saw this strange woman in a dress (right, on account of the funeral) getting too close and gave me a look as though to suggest, “Please go away.” Now, I learned a thing or two at an early age about not looking at arc welding with the naked eye but, I suppose, how was he to know that? I swallowed my pride, sidled up to another member of the work crew, and handed over the doughnuts.

This summer we of the outer Penobscot Bay environs have suffered under a heavy burden of atmospheric murk. “Thicker,” observed Albert Bunker back in his day about our fog, “than boiled owl sh*t.” I have no idea. The real victim of this damp gloom has been the air service, which cannot do business with us when they cannot actually see the island. The state ferry is scheduled for our annual peak service of four trips over the month, and Captains George and Paul of the passenger vessel Robin R. try to make up the difference as best they can but are limited by time and tide and other work. We find ourselves, if we possess no lobster boat, inhabiting a sort of voluntary Alcatraz.

Our groceries ordinarily arrive aboard those airplanes, Matinicus having no store whatsoever at present, and a long summer stretch with no flying means we risk regressing to the Olden Days of canned beans and powdered milk (although not I; I shall drink my good water and eat my warm bread and like it, and once again remark upon Alcatraz). After one week of continuous fog we were somehow granted about an hour of clear-enough weather — the word is “flyable” — and the guys from the air service did their thing in double-time. In 31 years here (yes, it is that, sometime next week), I have never seen so much food piled up out here. There must have been a serious ton of groceries in cardboard boxes alongside that dusty runway. Two Cessna 207s were unloaded by the assembled islanders, each of the aircraft solid full of banana boxes (wherein the good folks from Shaw’s pack our requested items), and dog chow and beer and whatever else, all freight, no passenger seats, just room alongside the boxes for the truckers of the air, the island-delivery pilots. Somebody muttered something about the Berlin Airlift. Perhaps that analogy is a bit dark; we were not by any stretch out of sugar on this rock. But what fun is sugar on your cereal if you have no milk? We were in no danger of hunger, but most everybody wanted for something. Carrier Onboard Delivery, perhaps, or something like that day in lighthouse history when teenaged light-keeper Abbie Burgess’ father returned with the supplies at long last to Matinicus Rock, where his little storm-soaked and sleep-deprived family had grown very tired of eggs.