Sunday, September 23, 2007

Maine Again

I love Down East Maine in the morning. It’s so quiet.

You can hear the water whooshing on the shore, and the invisible lobster boats growling along somewhere out in the fog.

Except for the boys, of course. They break the silence by laughing, shouting and fighting with each other. Jake cut himself on the knee. Wounded, he sat on the bench by the window, looking out at the ocean.

Can I play Ben’s DS? He asked, referring to the Nintendo DS brought for the car ride. Five hours is a long time to be in the car for kids today, strapped down by seatbelts. I remember rolling around, jumping over the seat to the back, and to the front, finding some movement in the small space my mother’s station wagon provided. I don’t know how else I could have survived the long drives to North Carolina from Upstate New York.

I don’t know how my mother survived with my energy bouncing through the car. Divorced at a time when no one was divorced, alone with three kids, going to visit her father who disapproved of her whole life.

No, honey. I reminded Jake, No electronics here. You know the rule.

He sighed and hopped, injured leg in the air, to the piano.

I’m the one who needs Maine. I realized as we drove down the dark road Friday night, high beams on- when do you use high beams in the city? I need the peace and quiet. I need to be away from the Internet, phone, emails and news. I’m the one who is so quick to the fray. Any fray.

A friend shook her head at me the other day, tsk tsking me for getting riled about a ridiculous SEC proposal.

Isn’t this taking you away from what you should be doing?

Which is what? I wondered. If it’s not getting riled about something I care about, then what exactly is my job? My purpose?

My purpose. Back to that again.

When I’m in Down East Maine, on the porch watching a gaggle of geese (I really did see one, and how can I resist that line?) float by, my purpose feels very clear. I need to be the best person I can be. I need to be a good parent.

That’s it.

It’s enough.

It takes time and care to do everything in Maine. Coffee put on the stove, must boil then perk for fifteen minutes to be any good. I had peaches again, white ones, and they tasted sweet with an earthiness that would be fabulous grilled. Regular peaches can be sugar bombs. Not white ones.

I tasted that. I took the time to taste it.

I thought about the next breakfast I would make- left over sausage, bacon, I knew I had spinach, cheese, and eggs... I decided to make omelets Sunday morning.

I go into conservation mode there- partly because the refrigerator is about the size of a shoebox, and partly because it’s the spirit of the place. The house was built from a shipwreck’s wood. Nothing wasted. I remember a story an old man who delivered firewood in Ogunquit told me, about how his father and grandfather had built the house down the way. The now beautiful home on the market for over two million dollars was built, partly, with wood recycled from a chicken coop. It wasn’t out of a sense of renewal, rather necessity.

It was hard to get milled wood, he said. You used whatever you could. They just scraped the chicken crap off it and used it.

We both smiled. Two million bucks for a house built on chicken crap.

The state of Maine’s motto is “The way life should be.” I couldn’t live every day moving so slowly- I’d go out of my mind. But there is something that really is the way life should be. Something about being thoughtful, and doing things well. With craftsmanship and ingenuity.

I went out after breakfast Saturday morning and took some pictures of the Point. The light was diffused, my favorite light to shoot in. While I’m walking down the dirt road I remember- I wanted to build a portfolio. Finish my series on trees. I scan the woods. The moss is so green I regret not bringing my macro lens.

I haven’t taken any pictures at home in a long time. Too busy getting riled, I guess.

I love getting riled.

I need some balance.


Anonymous Donald said...

Glad you are getting it!! It is Maine, and yes, this is how life should be. You might be surprised how easily you could adjust to life here. As long as the women have teeth, right?? LOL

8:56 PM  

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