What Typical Island Rituals Can Teach Us About Living Better with Each Other

Maybe Sundays should happen more often

5 min readJun 16, 2021


Photo by Carl Newton on Unsplash

It was Sunday morning. I was a little groggy from a late night and found some mindless task outside while the absolutely not “pandemic-puppy” played around my ankles. I was staring out at the ocean and all her glory when there was a ping on my phone — “What’s a good time to stop by to help with that roof project.”

In the non-existent rush of island life, I’d forgotten that my neighbor had offered to lend a hand. “How’s 11 looking?” I texted back and two hours later we’d made quick work on a project I’d been putting off for a while.

I usually write a small piece everyday and around midday I got lost in my thoughts about “labeling” and how much it makes me uncomfortable in supposed news sources. When I finished, I noticed my phone was abuzz — “Thanks so much for last night. I’m a bit broken but am going to stop by to help get rid of that nasty rug.” “Me too,” I replied. “Bring the boy so we can get the pups together.” Moments later, once again, a neighbor and I laughed together as we took out the trash and watched two young pups do what young pups do.

I barely had a chance to sit down to make some tea when another message came through from yet another neighbor — “Bring your puppy to meet ours.” Somehow, in all the action, I’d lost my pup and my husband. But off I went to welcome my friends back to the island.

“It was so lovely seeing you last night and I just read your story on pandemic friends and looked through David’s art. What luck to have you in our lives.” was the fourth message I recieved that day. I quickly texted back that we owed them dinner for the work his husband had done on the roof”

This doesn’t end. And it’s not constrained to Sunday’s which makes island life easy to live.

So what might we learn that could make all of our lives a little better maybe a lot better from a small coastal community in Maine.

1. Help a stranger, or a friend.

I was in Manhattan recently and the woman in front of me was struggling with a toddler squirming in one arm and two overflowing shopping bags in the other. “I’ve…




Founder of Dust&Co, senior design advisor for Rockefeller Foundation & former global managing partner of IDEO — fan of words and good conversation.