… on falling too fast

Late Season, A Friend’s Boat

This is the first September we’ve spent in Maine since we stumbled across The Inn* (and made the ‘holy-cow-can-you-believe-we-are-doing-this decision to buy it) more than twelve years ago.

For all of those years, September was the ‘back to school month’, which – if I remember correctly – involved a lot of forms.

Exactly the same forms.

To be filled out every year.

Over the course of eighteen years.

Most years for three kids (the half kid showed up in his senior year, forms already filled out)




And I don’t wanna complain, but computers were kind of a big deal round about… oh…. say… the 1990s (like, when the kids had classes in the COMPUTER LAB). But the office and the nurses wanted all the exact same paperwork filled out every single year – including the emergency contact card (hated that dang card) – all over again. You could not just say ‘same thing as last year’, you just could not.

I know this because I did that one year.

With (admittedly) rather large, capital letters.

In black sharpie.

It was a low point in my school form filler-outer career.

I got… the phone call.

And, since the call was from the nurse, someone who had a lot of pull (and medication that could have been lethal to my children), I fell in line. But I also developed the theory that, on the last day of school each year, the school officials and nurses got together by the light of a silvery moon (or just in the rear middle school parking lot) and danced around a burning pile of everyone’s carefully filled out forms and emergency contact cards. I estimate the volume of said burning paperwork at 7 bazillion megawatts.

JoHn does something with energy (I’ve never managed to figure out what), but I’m fairly certain that this many megawatts would have heated all of the households in the entire school district for 2.3 years.

That’s just math.

I’ve been thinking about our first September here, as I watch the boats come off their moorings. One or two suddenly bobbing free of its tethered craft each week.

Yesterday I was watching my friend’s sailboat, safely tied, in waters that were teaming with boat traffic just weeks ago.

It’s getting quiet here.

It’s funny too, because I used to think of summertime as our quiet time. A time to come here and kick back and relax outside the rigidity work and school and sports schedules. Where my own kids, plus three ‘cousins’ a mere two doors down this little dead-end road by the water, amounted to a roving gang of six (plus any other relatives or friends who’d come to visit on any particular day).

It was the only place on the planet where ‘out’ was an acceptable destination for my kids (as in ‘where are you going?’… ‘out!’).

There were investigations of lobsters from the rocks at low tide, and muddy – sometimes accidental, sometimes on purpose – explorations of the pond (and the requisite loss of more than one shoe through the years). There were dares to jump into the freezing cold June waters (respect to all who honored those dares), and towels laid out on the dock in August (when the seas of Maine are still cold, but their fingers not quite as numbing).

They grew up with the sounds of gulls and lobster boats… and one rather loud family of screech owls one year.

Throw-back-to-another-time stuff, right outside their front door.

There was a lazy busy-ness in those years.

Young kids still need wrangling…

Summer work assigned via e-mail had to be completed between trips to the rope swing…

And we adults realized the ten or twelve weeks of the summers of our youths had become more like six weeks… with school starting in August versus after Labor Day, and the early arrival demands of coaches and band leaders.

But now?

I hugged a gleeful Gabe goodbye at a school he loves down in North Carolina at the end of August.

And I’m just now starting to notice the things I’ve not been able to notice in years past.

The boats are being plucked from the water by unseen forces, their moorings enjoying some freedom until next spring.

Certain places downtown have closed for the season, while some won’t close until after Columbus Day. The relatively few that stay open all year round will be hoppin’ as November ebbs into December, and the whole year tumbles into next, careening toward April when places seasonally closed awake from their winter naps.

I’ve only just met this time of year in Maine and yet… I’m in love.

I know, I know.

It’s only been a couple of weeks!

What’s the rush?

It’s too soon.

It’ll never last.

I hear you, and respect you, and appreciate you looking out for me.

But you know what?


You just know.

Thanks for readin!

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