Our time in Maine is precious.
And preciously guarded.
The reality is that ‘summer’ is an ebbing and flowing timeframe each year, based on family obligations ‘back home’ as well as a variety of kid-generated activities from camps to late August sports practices to heading back to school.
Six weeks are what you get on the outside, albeit six weeks speckled in some backs and forths, up and down the Maine Turnpike.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complainin’. Far from it. I love it here, and before we had The Inn, we would vacation in Maine every summer for as long a span as we could afford it (first a week, then two), every summer, for decades. The Old Yankee Man and Granny did the same with their kids, just one generation ago.
But we do protect our time here. It’s short. And it’s wonderful. And we would miss the ‘feeling’ we dreamt of, and experience here, if we had visitors non-stop.
It really is true, we found out early on, that you have no idea how large your family and friends group is until you have a house by the water. While we didn’t invite many, we found many had no trouble inviting themselves (which, with several incidents, gave us some of our favorite and funniest stories early on).
But we bought this place for ourselves. It is our dream to be here. It just feels right. It isn’t a trophy house, nor did we ever intend it to be a place where we entertain folks back to back to back all summer long.
It is a quieter place.
It is our retreat.
It is my sanctuary.
That being said, we do have the occasional visitors here and there.
Mostly this is to fulfill the promise to the kids that we would not contribute to their individual social suicides by dragging them away from chic and trendy Dunstable each summer since 2005.
So this week, Number One Son Sam is away working at a Jazz camp in Connecticut, and First-Born Mac and Half-Kid Jack are working and job hunting and getting started with their lives post college. So the Self-Proclaimed Perfect Boy Gabe is here, and he has three friends with him.
At sixteen or so, all of them are pretty self-sufficient. I have come to know these boys, and their parents, through town and school soccer programs over the years, but these past few days I am seeing each of their individual interests beyond soccer.
Sure, they have their soccer balls up here, and obviously we have watched some World Cup Soccer.
But they have also spent time eating and playing poker (with coins they swear they will return). They have had us drive them over to the local rope swing, which requires them to swim across frigid Maine water to get to the ropes (which then allow them to hurl themselves back into said frigid water from heights untold (actually, not quite ‘untold’, because they have indeed told us all about it)).
I’ve rediscovered this place’s offerings, through their eyes.
Adventurous kayak rides.
Trips to a nearby sandy beach (yes, rocky too (as in Maine ‘sandy’ is relative)).
A fishing expedition off the dock with fishing poles one boy brought from home, knowing he could use them here.
I have seen and heard them outside near the water, hangin’ 16 year-old boy style. A brag here, a sarcastic remark there, followed by laughter. A grunt, a shrug, a joking elbow to the ribs, or friendly punch to a shoulder.
And at night, from their ‘fort’ in the attic, where they have created a ‘mega-bed’ with all the mattresses, the thumps and bumps and tumbles and laughter of wrestling.
It has me smiling.
This visit has reminded me of the magic of this place, not just for decompressing, not just for playing with dogs, or creating, or talking to the Nearly Perfect Husband early in the morning with coffee (and in the company of lobster boats).
This place seems to help put the figurative em-PHA-sis on a different syll-A-ble.
Once and a while, it’s pretty enjoyable to invite others in, and watch them absorb what I know exists here.
Don’t get me wrong.
I’m still pretty dang protective of my time in this little corner of the world, filled with slowly unfolding mysteries and messages.
But to see this magical place through the eyes of others, including a few sixteen year-old boys? I suppose I could get used to that.
I mean not every day or anything, but maybe…
Once in a while.
Thanks for readin’.
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