A Week in Maine

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July 8, 2019 at 12:05pm
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The boys on a tiny island we canoed to just downriver from our cabin.

Took a vacation of just over a week in Maine around Independence Day. We rented a little cottage on an island off the coast of Bath, surrounded by meandering outlets of the Kennebec River. Strange to see streams sucked away and breathed back by the Atlantic. Part of the day the river was six feet deep, other times completely dry. 

After a decade and a half in the northeast it still astounds me that you can drive to so many distinctly different places in just a few hours. Growing up in Oklahoma you could be in Dallas in three hours, any other destination it ever occurred to me to visit was at least eight. Here, if you leave early enough, you can have lunch practically anywhere in New England or D.C. or Philadelphia.

We visited a few places nearby. Took in the Independence Day parade in downtown Bath, then stood on the Sagadahoc Bridge over the Kennebec River to watch the fireworks that night. Mostly we'd go to the beach at Popham or Reid State Park during the day, and watch a movie on the cabin's TV at night. The Addams Family one night, A Night at the Museum another.

It felt hot, but the breeze on the beaches made them significantly cooler which was almost unfortunate because hotter air would have made the cold ocean more pleasant. It startled me the first time I saw a Least Tern gliding out over the ocean drop like a weight out of the sky, go fully under the water, then shoot back out. Never saw anything like it before.

The slope of land under the water was subtle enough you could walk out quite a way. I carried Sammy out as far as I could at one point, water up to my chest, and looked out at the just-discernible silhouette of a lighthouse on a far-off island. Otherwise, nothing but ocean, presumably until Europe. 

"Maybe when you're old," I said, "you'll remember your daddy carrying you out in the Atlantic Ocean."

Thinking of all the money and effort expended to take ourselves from one house to another for a week. To leave our neck of the rural northeast to trod another. With some sense that this is how you make memories that are meaningful. And you stand so close to the edge of the ocean that you are really hardly even in it at all because it is endlessly vast. But there you are, not unlike a single moment in a lifetime much less the endless daisy-chained lifetimes of father, son, father, son.