… on a decade of cows and the sea


Mr. McGovern’s Cow, Dunstable, Massachusetts

Down the driveway, down the road, around a small curve and over a rise are Mr. McGovern’s cows.

I realized, as I was on my way back home the other day and passed them, cursing at myself as I gazed at my empty passenger seat that usually holds my camera, but didn’t…

I realized that I have been gliding back and forth with the seasons, for a decade now, between ‘home’ and Maine.

Between cows and the sea.

Over the years, since we bought the Inn, the lens of my camera has gently oscillated from the rocks and fog and pines and salt air of Maine’s coast in summer, to the silent snows and pastoral farms and Mr. McGovern’s cows in northern Massachusetts.

Spring and fall have relegated themselves to transitional seasons of buzzed activity, with kids’ sports and school and family gatherings and graduations.  Photographic snacks, often grabbed quickly, on the fly, as I’m heading out the door.

But winter and summer… my cows and my sea… these have been full on feasts for the eye and lens.

Multiple courses, perfectly selected considering each of the senses.  Enjoyed without the pressure to rush.  The pleasure in the lingering.

And, as with so many times when change is in the wind, I am taking stock of what is, and what has been special about it.  This year, we begin our transition to the nearly two hundred year-old house that we’ve spent the last decade renovating, by the sea in Maine.

The poignancy of my last winters with the cows just around the bend is lighting on my shoulders and beginning to settle in.  And I have made a deal with myself.

I will not forget to put my camera in my seat as I take off to the market, or the gym, or the movie theatre, or on any number of small or seemingly meaningless errands that happen in the everyday.

I will enjoy the winter with ‘my’ cows. I will pick out my favorites, and note the numbers on their ear tags. I will smile as they lumber to me in the mornings or afternoons, steam rising from their backs and muzzles.  Wondering, perhaps, what this strange human is doing here again, with her odd, clicking box.

I will thank them, and this place of one white steeple, and exactly zero traffic lights.  Of rolling fields, and horses and riders, and an entire police force that know our names.  This village that has been my home since the days before two of my three (and a half) children were born.  A place where three generations of us moved into a brown house, on a small hill, and began a life together.

I will treat the time we spend here, until we move on, as its own feast. Not for photography, but for memory.

I am grateful for this decade of cows and the sea.

It has been a gift.

And I plan to enjoy it, to drink it in…

For just a little bit longer.

Thanks for readin’.


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