In 15 days I will begin a month long sabbatical from reality. I will retreat to a lake house in Maine where cell phone coverage is spotty, Internet access is limited and air conditioning is non-existent. My days will begin early with coffee in a rocking chair on the front porch with the elegant warble of loons drifting across the water. I might take my coffee down by the dock. I might read a newspaper, the Camden Herald or the Courier Gazette. Whenever Pam gets up, we will take our breakfast on the
round table in the corner of the porch, overlooking Hobbs Pond.
For thirty days and thirty nights I will disengage from the pursuits of modern life in America. I will check in from time to time on the dumpster fire that is my country's politics, but only briefly, only with fleeting glances. The only deep internal argument I intend on having with myself while in Maine will center on that most contentious of debates...sausage or bacon, fishing or swimming, lobster or steak?
I plan on being a regular at the Hope General Store. They brag of their award winning pizza and their 142 different beers, and their continued, uninterrupted operation since 1832. I fully intend on getting my fill of blueberry pancakes at the Camden Deli, and clam chowder at Cappy's. I will eat lobster rolls. I will eat whoopie pies. I will enjoy more than one Allagash Coolship Red.
I will hike to the top of Mount Battie, pick blueberries and stare at the glistening harbor below. I will climb the stairs of the war memorial and take pictures.
I will set out from the dock in my rented kayak before the sun goes down for an evening trip around the lake. The water will be still and the color of stainless steel and so clear I will be able to see the mossy green edges of thousand year old rocks on the bottom.
In the evenings I will listen to the hiss and crackle of the fire. We will tell stories of the time when the kids were little and rolled each other down the beach at Dummer's curled up on the inside of giant tires. We will laugh at the memory.
I worry that the country I leave behind will intrude on me with some ghastly act of violence or stupidity. If some seventh century Islamic psychopath shoots up a bus load of seniors headed to Disneyworld, it will be difficult to know how to react while eating a fluffer-nutter. I will feel guilty that my countrymen are once again dealing with the disintegration of America while I am trying to decide between whoopie-pie or raspberry pie for dessert.
But, the truth is, I'm exhausted by America right now. It's all just too much. I need some time away from the drama of Obama-Clinton-Trump. A human being can take only so many gun control debates. At a certain point, the plight of transgendered bathroom access gets jumbled up with university safe spaces and too much money in politics and before you know what has happened, your entire world looks like the bar scene from Star Wars.
So, in 15 days the world will stop and let me off. My hope is that while I am away, a portion of my sanity will be restored. If the rest of you will somehow get your act together while I'm gone, it would be greatly appreciated.