… on ‘getting’ a place

June, on her mooring, pre-dawn

As I write this morning, Maine still exists in darkness outside my screen porch.

The post lantern is on, as is the one that washes the barn door with a gentle glow. I can see a few lights here and there, dots from across the water. That’s all.

Ah, I can hear the warning chimes from the distant swing bridge. Wait with me.

There it is… the sounds of a diesel engine. And… yep… there they are, the lights of a lobsterboat, floating toward me and by.

I can hear an owl, in the forest… off to my right… 2 o’clock(ish), maybe a hundred yards away.

The occasional splash has to be a seal, far too ‘heavy’ to be a pogie or mackerel. Too many splashes to be a beaver.

Yes, a beaver.

One winter, a few years ago, I went out to the water pre-dawn for a week to photograph the sunrise. By day three, I’d visually confirmed that the huge splash surprising me at the same time each morning was a beaver, leaping into the water from a dock two doors down. I had no idea beavers swam in saltwater! Later Googling told me that, indeed, they do. I have since re-imagined that particular creature as a member of the local Beaver Polar Plunge organization. I hear cold water immersion can do wonders for the skin and hair.

I hear a heron. It sounds like the pterodactyl it resembles.

All herons here are named Hank. This is because my friend, Chris, is a baseball fan and named one ‘Hank Aaron the Heron’. Since I can’t tell the difference between the original Hank and all the other herons that show up, or fly over, on any given day, they are all Hank (just as all the hummingbirds are ‘Buzz’).

The sky is now a deep, dark smoky grey.

I can make out the trees against it, and see enough of the water to know there is fog, but not too much.

A chickadee is peeping somewhere, but that’s it… wait… there’s a crow.

They – the crows – have come together in a bullying gang this summer and, between their harassment of the local fox and Cooper’s hawk, they flex their muscles almost constantly. I’ve tried (really hard) to make friends with them, but it hasn’t happened yet. They land by the feeder just outside the porch, hopping here and there (they’re huge!) but, as soon as one eyes me, they all scatter. I am not above bribing them with top notch seed or shiny things, but they’ve yet to figure out I’m one of the good guys. Maybe the chipmunks would put in a good word for me. One sits on my foot sometimes in the afternoons (his name is ‘Chip’). He’s probably the best one to ask.

It’s lighter now.

I can see the boats that are still on their moorings, so many have been pulled for the season by early October.

The swing bridge is dinging again and, this time, I can actually see the lobsterboat sliding through. I can hear the crew chatting, the water carrying sound in such a way that they could be talking in my front yard. They’re moving slowly, very little trailing wake. Mr. Rowan, my neighbor at the end of the road, would be happy about that. The water between the mainland and island is a posted ‘No Wake Zone’, and Mr. Rowan is so committed to this rule that he has been known to fire off his signal cannon at people who do not observe it! JoHn always thought this was very funny but, ever since we have officially become ‘boaters’, he is as eagle-eyed as Mr. Rowan, grumbling his way through the house if he sees someone fly by. I have heard more than one conversation, between my husband and Mr. Rowan, on the subject of wake-makers. It never sounds positive. This is serious stuff.

Our trees are dripping, not with rain but with leftover fog.

The sky is lightening more and more and – seemingly with each quiet click of my keyboard – another bird joins in to  inform me that the sun will soon show itself, and this day will be born.

Speaking of birth, the second litter of baby squirrels (the ones whose address is ‘Second Highest Hole in the Horse Chestnut Tree’) has reached their teenage phase. They’ve come out and are running all around and up and down their tree, warming up for another day of nut hunting and burying no doubt (if Mom can keep them focused).

All of these happenings and thoughts (and far more) are the bits and parts of our mornings here.

When we bought this place, almost twenty years ago now, we were enamored with the ‘news’… new place, new people, new spaces to discover and spots to favor. We were – as those who just come for the season each year are called – ‘summer people’ (and grateful for that).

Years later, we began to make noises about moving here full time. Those sounds would often be met with warnings from year ’rounders, mostly about winters (not a lot to do, the snow, the ice, the cold…), but also about local living and politics… conversations about saving the working waterfront, lobstering, the virtues or hellscape (depending on what side you were on) of the proposed rotary on Rt. 27…

All the questions and warnings, of course, were ways of conveying that this place is not ‘vacationland’ all day and every day for those who live here year-round. Many a ‘summer person’ has come here and fallen head over heels in love. Eyeing real estate flyers in downtown windows, they are convinced they should pack up all they have and move here full-time, only to realize (or discover after they make the move) that it was a summer love, fueled by dreamy vacation mindsets complete with friendly locals (with funny accents) and burly lobstermen straight out of Hollywood central casting.

But the real thing – love, that is – takes time. True, deep, long lasting love includes the discovery of the quirks and darknesses, and the realization that you love someone – or some place – more for who and what they truly are. You are honored that you have been given the chance to ‘get’ them.

Now apricot-lit clouds are floating above ocean’s water just beyond my gardens, and I’ve realized something…

The mid-coast of Maine.
You arrive here.
And, if you pay attention and give it enough time,
You get here.

Feel free to replace that first line with your own magical place, one you’ve taken the time to ‘get’ it.

I’ll bet it fits ❤️

Thanks for readin’.

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