… on fog and being in the midst


From the Outside

Have you ever noticed that, when approaching fog – like a bank of fog (no money, all water droplets) – that it always looks so thick and ominous that you are sure when you hit it you will not be able to see a thing… but that a lot of times you find that you are in it before you even know you are?

Like, if you are in a car and look out the back window, the people behind you are in the fog, and if you look out the front window, the people in front of you are in the fog… but you? No, you are practically in a fog-free zone.

Fog can’t touch you.

Queue M.C. Hammer and dance.

I remember asking my mother about this phenomenon (I think I was two or three and, of course, pronounced ‘phenomenon’ perfectly) and I don’t remember getting a scientific answer.

Which brings me to science.

Which then brings me to my neighbor and new friend ChrisChrisChris, and how she and her husband JustOneJim, without knowing it, totally calmed any fears I had about moving up to this island in Maine in two years.

ChrisChrisChris is ChrisChrisChris because, when I came home the other day from sitting on her porch, I was telling JoHn some of the things we were talking about. And, of course, I could not remember all the stuff we were talking about all at once so, throughout the night, I would say, “Oh, Chris said that….” and “When I was talking to Chris…” and finally, John took a page from the Brady Bunch (“Marsha Marsha Marsha”) and made a face and said “Chris Chris Chris!” (because he is probably jealous).

But I guess I didn’t credit her husband Jim enough because JoHn didn’t make the face and say “Jim Jim Jim!” so he is now JustOneJim (and this is why I should give Opt-Out clauses to any of my new potential-friends… because what if they don’t like their new names?).

So, anyway, an impromptu visit to ChrisChrisChris’s and JustOneJim’s house resulted in a couple of hours sitting on their front porch and talking about anything and everything and it was great (mostly because I discovered that JustOneJim is a photographer and has an old Leica camera and, if I can get them to trust me enough and they give me a house key, I can probably steal the camera and blame it on a moose).

Also I told them that JoHn and Granny and I are planning on being up here full-time in a couple of years and ChrisChrisChris got all excited and said that they were considering that too! (Again, cool because even more access to the aforementioned Leica).  And we got to talking about it and it turns out that they have spent more time than we have up here in the winter and that they know that the pub down the street is open all year round and they love it and wondered if I’d been there.

And I said no because I have not.

So I found out that, in the summer, the pub is full of tourists, but in the winter the pub is the most interesting combination of – wait for it – lobstermen and scientists.


Because Bigelow Labs is located nearby and they do everything from stuff like microbial oceanography to the large-scale biogeochemical processes that drive ocean ecosystems and global environmental conditions, and are organized around the three core themes of Blue Biotechnology, Ocean Biogeochemistry and Climate Change, and Ocean Health (and maybe I did get some of that straight off of Wikipedia but I’m not telling you which parts).

Fine. All.

So anyway, SCIENCE!

And lobstermen!

Sure, there are probably also fishermen and teachers and artists and proprietors of stuff (and probably more and other professions represented) at the local pub in the winter.

But I am going to focus on the very cool idea that, in the winter, I will get the chance to know the people who catch the maine ingredient for my lobster roll and the people who are studying the stuff that makes it possible for the ingredients to continue to live and breathe (ish) and breed so I can continue to have my lobster rolls.

Because how cool is that?  I’m actually daydreaming about it.

“Steve, are you saying that you had oodles of lobster this season?” I will ask StevetheLobsterman.  And then I will turn to my new friend, Dr. Eliot and I will ask, “Dr. Eliot, are you saying that climate change is not going to impact the lobster population for at least the coming summer season?”

I will be calm and in the know all the time.

So now I am feeling even better than I was feeling before about moving to Maine for good because the maine reason I was nervous – that it is very quiet and we will have to drive at least 45 minutes (JoHn’s speed) or an hour (my speed) to get to the big movie theatre – is not as fear-y because I can also go grab a drink at a local pub filled with lobstermen and scientists.

And it will probably only take me a year or four to graduate from their initial suspicious glances, to being acknowledged (but being ‘From Away’), to ‘From Away but a Year ‘Round-ah’.

But never a local.

And that’s okay.

I’ve done the New England small town thing for a long time now.

This is Maine.

I will always be From Away, always live in the Walbridge House (never the Dingle House).

And I will always feel that I have to avert my eyes when I say I’m originally from Massachusetts (following up quickly with an earnest, “Northern Massachusetts… practically New Hampshire!)”

And all that is okay.

I’m happy to mollify myself with lobster.

And a dash of science.

Thanks for readin’.


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