My Muse: Maine

Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, Mount Desert Island

It sees the ocean to its bosum clasp
The rocks and sea-sand with the kiss of peace:
It sees the wild winds lift it in their grasp,
And hold it up, and shake it like a fleece.”
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Lighthouse 

Maine has been the backdrop — the setting — for some of the most important chapters of my life. It’s been the oft-unnoticed character, looming in the background, prepared to cushion my many falls with a thin layer of snow and pine needles.

The world was 6 years into the 21st century; I was half way through my 19th year when my path merged with Maine’s — unexpectedly — and for all the wrong reasons. The first role the great state took on was that of the antagonist. Its endless silence, population deficiencies, and overabundance of  pine trees (of white people) was daunting. It was so unlike the cruel, harsh home I knew so well before, and its sensibilities felt wrong.

Maine remained patient however — calmly and quietly waited for me — while I resisted its persistent charms.

Somehow, slowly and without my knowing so, a love affair developed. The cold coastal sea air  filled my lungs with an intimacy I had not known before. The previously unsettling stillness that followed the countless snow storms became beautiful, peaceful. Even the muckiest of mud seasons gained a certain charm. I could no longer hold off. I soon fell for the old, small towns and cities like I had never for a man.

But like any unnoticed character in a story,  I never stopped to acknowledge its worth — until a goodbye was in the offing.

For some time, I knew the love was there, I could feel it pooling in my heart. But only today, six years later, can I comment on just how crucial a role this place has played. Many-a-time, my life veered off course but like the many paths I’ve found through its woods, Maine carefully guided me back to where I needed to be. It threw the most memorable sights, sounds, and people my way and reminded me all the while why I am so very fond of life.

But sadly, now, it’s time to put distance between myself and my great love.  The faintly lit cobble stone streets still call to me lustily. The tree topped mountains still pull me in. The muddy hills beg me to stay. But while my heart longs to remain, tethered to the rocky shoreline, my feet have already cut their ties so I must follow them — for a while, anyway.

It is not a forever farewell and someday when I find my way home (probably captive to a loveless marriage) the state shall resume its role as the loyalest of lovers.

My heart stays in Maine. New york is ok. Boston comes close. But when I leave this world spread my ashes across the Maine Midcoast. Don’t take for granted just how deep you can breath in. Don’t take for granted just how far you can see here. Take a stroll with me down to the Old Port. Take a drive with me to the sea, my dear. We are already here. We are already here. East end to West End. Park Street to Forest. Park side to Congress. Monument Square, Monument Square, Monument Square.
Lady Lamb the Beekeeper, Maine Song