Flourishing in Maine

ChipmunkEastern06.jpg

I need to take a day off from the serious stuff I try to post. My wife and I are settling into our summer routine in Maine. Starting in May, we move gradually up to our cottage in Brunswick, or as the Mainers would say we head downeast. Every spring we hold our breath as we open up, wondering how the place fared over the winter. The mothballs that local folklore says keeps the varmints out seemed to have done their job this year. But we always lift up the blankets to make sure that some family of mice hasn't spent the winter building a nest.

I'm waiting until the tide comes up a little more to drag my dory down to the dock. We set our daily schedule pretty much by the movement of the tides which span from 9 to 14 feet. There is as yet little life on the bay. The ducks are out there but haven't produced their broods yet. The male eiders in their white plumage are still here. Soon after the ducklings hatch, the males disappear from the local scene. Even the omnipresent gulls are few and far between.

I dissolved some sugar and filled the hummingbird feeder. I don't think it was even 20 minutes later when the first hummingbird showed up. So far today we have seen hummingbirds, a tufted titmouse, and a couple of chickadees and goldfinches, already in their gold summer coats. I have this belief that the hummers (birds, not cars) are the same ones that came last year.

The same goes for the chipmunk that appears shortly after I throw some sunflower seeds on the porch. After a few moments of stuffing the seeds into its cheeks, the wee animal looks just like the one in the photo. Some years ago, we were able to identify the chipmunk that befriended us. He (or she) had a stubby tail, having lost part of it somehow. Over time, it became very tame and would eat from our hands, and was a great diversion for our grandchildren who exhibited patience we rarely saw otherwise. Stubby, named for his characteristic tail, returned every summer for about 5 years and then disappeared. There's no way I can now tell whether or not it's the same chippie that comes back. But like the hummers, I do want to believe it is.

I am about to unpack my fly rods and rig them for the season ahead. There are reports that the stripers have come as far north as the Saco River, and are a week or so away from getting up here and into the bays where I fish. But hope springs eternal and I will go out today or tomorrow and look for the first fish of the year.

The farmer's market has started up and we went over there quite early this morning. I go early so as to be able to buy, before they run out, my week's worth of eggs from one of the farmers that sells the most enormous eggs. They disappear very quickly. I love the ones with two yolks for breakfast. Even with the availability of cage-free eggs in the supermarket, I find that farm-raised eggs have a different and more delectable flavor. The same wonderful bakers are here again. I couldn't pass by the organic bread man who brings only a small supply of delicious cinnamon rolls. Since today is my birthday, I gave myself permission to have one. The field was bustling even as early as we went. I see the same folks bringing their dogs for an outing. We bought some herbs to plant in our little garden in front of the cottage. A new stall offers goat meat. I sampled a tad of goatburger, and think I will stick with more traditional fare.

Most of my book was written here over a couple of summers. I have learned much about flourishing here in Maine. There is a kind of permanence to the place, but at the same time every day is perceptibly different from the one before. Maybe it is because the tidal cycle shifts about an hour each day. Maybe it comes from the stillness that I feel, even as I listen to the crying of the gulls and the screeching of the herons. It's impossible not to become aware of connection between myself and the world that surrounds our cottage.

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1 Comments

Don Shepard said:

Nice change of pace on this post, it is good to put such thoughts down to remind us all what we are here for. I'm a grad assistant for Ball State University's Department of Natural Resources. Some of us did a summary and book discussion on "Sustainability by Design" for Dr. Eflin's Renewable Eneries course. I found the overall framework for a sustainabe mindset to be something that should be expanded on and we all enjoyed the book very much. Thank you for the book and the blog.