Sunday, 30 August 2015

Washington County, Maine

I like to keep people out of my posts, mostly because they may not like the free publicity, but this time it's going to be hard, because this was a trip that was all about people. People and dogs.

A few years back, someone I went to college with died. It was one of those seismic-shock things, that rippled through everyone who'd known him and gave us that wake up call we all, unfortunately, get at some point: time really is finite and we may not get to spend all the time we want to with all the people we love. So, one of my oldest friends, who I'd met the first day of high school and then went on - coincidentally - to the same college with, sent out a clarion call: she was going to host a gathering of old friends at her farm in Colorado, bringing together all us (mostly college) friends, so that our times together weren't about meeting at each other's funerals, but making new memories and having fun. By then, we'd scattered not just around the country, but some of us (ahem) had even gone abroad, so it was quite a thing to get us all in one place for several days. It was a time full of emotion, laughter, amazement that, yup, here we all were again, and despite what life had thrown at us, we found we still had this deep and intense bond of love and friendship.

Well, that gathering went so well, that the following year, we met in someone else's grown-up hometown, Port Townsend, Washington; and this summer, it was the vacation home of a couple who'd met and fallen in love at our college, that's way up north about 15 miles from the Canadian border in Maine (their vacation home – not our college, which is in Ohio).

So, the upshot of all this is, that going through my photos, the best ones are stuffed with laughing, happy folks, who are just thrilled to be together once more. So, if these pictures don't show that, you'll just have to imagine that, just out of shot, there were plenty of people, but I've mostly left them out, to preserve their privacy.

Happily, there were also a few dogs. Dogs and a boat. In fact, dogs who liked boats. And, as dogs don't worry about being recognized, I've included one of them.

OK, so back to the travel side of things... My memories of Maine are of a place so far from most other places, that it's pretty empty. I guess I've been away a long time, but it seemed fuller than I remember: more summer houses, more people in general, but then, that's the way the world is going now, getting more crowded every year... However, there's still plenty of wide-open country up here, along with cute, New England towns, beautiful, sunny days in summer and, of course, seafood. Lots and lots of seafood. We're talking lobster, crab, clams, mussels, fish...

We ate ours, at a loooonnnng table out on a deck overlooking the water, in Eastport, with a view over to Canada and spent the time waiting for our food to come beachcombing.

Mostly, we spent our days kayaking. being dragged on a tube behind our hosts' motorboat or going for 'Q-Tip' tours (Q-Tips, as I now know, are what old folks are called), which meant chugging in the boat, people and dogs, at virtually walking pace around the perimeter of the lake, checking out everyone else's summer house and talking in a meandering sort of way. Stand-out times remain going to see the tide change on an inlet that's part of the greater Bay of Fundy, which has the biggest tides in the world; staying up late talking; and the night we went out on the boat with sparklers and paper lanterns, lighting their little flames and making wishes as we watched them rise up into the starry sky.

I don't know what everyone else wished for – and without giving too much away (as we all know, a wish told will never come true) – but I'm already looking forward to the next time we meet...

Wildflower meadow, Washington County, Maine

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