Monday, July 28, 2014

Getting My Maine On


This is probably my 25th trip to Maine, somewhere around there, and each time it’s the same. It takes a while. There’s a 24 hour period where your body and mind are still in Virginia. But the way you think and feel in Virginia won’t do.

After a day up here you began to feel the change. The muscles in your back begin to loosen, your blood pressure begins to fall. Before long you find yourself sitting in a chair on a dock listening to the water lap against the shoreline and it occurs to you that you aren’t thinking about anything. You’re simply looking and listening. That’s when you know that you’re beginning to get your Maine on.

Then you suddenly realize that you are starving. Even though you’ve done nothing but sit in a dock chair and stare out at the mountains across the lake for an hour, you feel like you could eat a horse. Then, when you are served a simple ham sandwich with chips and a beer, it taste like a five star gourmet meal. Such is the power of the Maine air…or something.

Yesterday the first part of the day was sunny and delicious. We spent much of the morning kayaking all over this meandering lake that stretches itself for miles in all directions, full of islands and inlets, nooks and crannies, dotted by one postcard camp after another. To paddle by these sanctuaries is to do battle with envy, to commit the sin of covetousness more times in an hour than you have previously in the entire 56 years of your existence.

By afternoon, it started getting cloudy, then the rain came. Today will be a washout. The rest of the week looks glorious, with high temperatures in the low 70’s with bright sunshine. We will spend the day in Camden shopping and eating. It’s only Monday morning and I already never want to leave.

When we first arrived, Pam and I sat on the back porch in silence for a moment, taking in the beauty. Then she said to no one in particular, “I miss my kids.” It was as if she was saying it to the lake, a simple statement of fact, an acknowledgment of the realty of our new life. Of course, she’s right. We do miss our kids. For most of our lives together, Maine has been associated with family vacations. Maine was fluffer-nutters on the beach at Dummers. So to be here without them feels incomplete. The fact that both of them have better things to do than to be here with us seems like a small betrayal.
But then I remind myself that the kids weren’t invited. Besides, with each passing hour, we are both missing them less and enjoying this place more.  We are getting our Maine on, which includes adjusting to the primitive conditions of a cabin built 75 years ago. The bathroom sinks have one cold faucet and one hot faucet and gasp, no stopper! How are we to wash our faces under such barbaric conditions? Absent a “proper stopper” we are reduced to fetching a bowl from the kitchen and mixing cold water with hot ourselves! Oh, the humanity!!