Maine, Sept. 29, 2009

September 29, 2009

•    Sept. 27, 2009 The Osprey cottage, New Harbor, Maine.

•    Rain hisses against the windows. From the kitchen table, we can see the lobster boats bucking and twisting at anchor. The trees toss in time to the dancing of the boats. Everything is wet and in motion.
•    The wind plays tunes around the Osprey, rattles the windows and shakes at the door. I would light a fire in the Franklin stove, but decide we would enjoy it more when we’re not bushed from a day on the asphalt.
•    From my writing table I can hear the somber tolling of the buoy near the harbor mouth, and the moaning of the wind around the corner of The Osprey. All the cottages have been named after birds that live on or near the water. Heron, Tern, Gannet, Osprey, Gull, etc.
•    Two years ago, the Osprey’s piers, weakened by 24 hours of hard rain, slipped out from under it. The house dropped perhaps three feet, and slid toward the water another three feet or so.
•    We were in it at the time.
•    Almost our first question to the owners was, would they rebuild? They did. We were back the next year. The only thing missing was the charming way the house sort of bounced when we would walk across the floor, or creaked in a high wind.
•    Well, I thought it charming. Sue had less enthusiasm for it.
•    New Harbor, from which the village gets its name, is small, cluttered with lobster boats and their dingys and a few pleasure craft. At various times during the day one hears the lobster boats chugging out to tend their traps, or back in after selling their catch at Shaw’s, 100 yards or so toward the harbor mouth from here.
•    We come every year, and every year, I try to describe why we love it so. I’ve never succeeded. I don’t think so, anyway.
We yearn for this spot all year long. Our eyes hunger for every nuance of the light. We slip into honest mourning when we have to leave.
•    We celebrated our arrival with a glass of scotch. I prefer Laphroaig, which starts at $40 a bottle for the 10-year-old stuff. It goes all the way up to a 40-year-old edition. I don’t want to know what it costs. We got a serviceable single-malt for about $10. It isn’t Laphroaig, but it isn’t terrible. It did, however, take the wind out of my sails for about an hour.
•    We bought the booze at a New Hampshire state store. In New Hampshire, the state liquor stores have their own exits off I-95. What could possibly go wrong? One elderly woman had a clerk help her load eight to 10 cases of booze into her Caddie. She had a sharp face, and a sort of junkyard dog demeanor.
•    Sept. 28: Dawn came cloudless, but still windy. We ate breakfast at a little restaurant/gift shop next to the lighthouse at Pemaquid Point. Still in a fury from the night’s storm, the surf hammered at the point, sending spume 30 and 40 feet in the air. The shop, as usual, swarmed with tourists, mostly well-to-do folks from the New England States. They all look as though, somewhere in their lives, at least, they enjoyed skiing, and know a lot about fondue. I try to blend in as well as possible. Thank god I didn’t wear my bib overalls. And yes, I packed my bib overalls.
•    The rest of the day involved a trip into Damariscotta for supplies and a nap once we got back to the cottage. It’s vacation, remember?
•    The reading list, River out of Eden, by Richard Dawkins; Deer Hunting with Jesus by Joe Bageant; A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin; The Norman Maclean Reader; The Post-American World, by Fareed Zakaria; Faith in a Seed, by H.D. Thoreau; Creation by E.W. Wilson; Letters to a Christian Nation, by Sam Harris, and Emerson’s Essays & Lectures.
•    Don’t be impressed; many of them will go back in their box unread at the end of the vacation. And the ones that take the most concentration will put me to sleep while I’m reading. I don’t have the circuitry for genius.


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