There is nothing quite like summer in Maine. Many people love to come to Maine as was evident this past weekend with a 12 mile plus back up coming out of the state. I counted myself very blessed to call Maine home, and even though I am “from away” I was taught at an early age to love the “Pine Tree State.” There are a number of “hot spots” here, Bar Harbor, the Southern Maine Coast, the Belgrade lakes, Moosehead and Baxter State park. I have learned there are generally two types of people who visit Maine, those who love the ocean and those who love the woods. My siblings are good examples of this for my brother, were he to live here would have a house on the ocean. My sister however does not feel her visit is complete without a pilgrimage to Mount Katahdin; regardless of where she is staying in this big state. I am a mixture of the two; a product of parents who split their vacation time between the ocean and the woods (although I am admittedly, more inclined to ocean.) I have vivid memories of days spent in Lubec and others of moose watching at the base of Mount Katahdin.
West Quoddy Head Lighthouse and Campobello Island are good places to go if you like both woods and salt water, for there the “...deep-voiced neighboring ocean... answers the wail of the forest.” (H.W. Longfellow, Evangeline) The smell of spruce, moss, wild roses and lupine mingle with the smell of salt, clam flats and fog. Many people do not like the smell of clam flats, comparing it to the smell of manure (and that is being gentile!) But like the taste of Moxie, you need to be “raised” with it to appreciate it. My father had a great deal of influence on me, for I remember as a young child when crossing the Piscataqua River Bridge into Maine my father would roll down all the windows; breathe deeply and remark on how clean the air was. Even now, as I cross the bridge I open my windows and breathe deeply all the while thinking of Daddy.
This entire post is the product of my ride to Connecticut last week. It was a hot, steamy night inland, but as I neared Portland, I saw and felt the fog as my nostrils filled with the glorious scent of salt water and wild roses. I love that smell, for it is Maine to me, the only thing missing was the spruce. Often we are encouraged to take time to smell the roses, referring to taking time; slowing down. But I want to encourage you to simply smell. Barbecues, flowers, freshly mowed grass, trees and bushes, rocks as they are heated in the sun, pavement and new tar. As you drive through your day, roll down your windows and breathe deeply, smell summer.