Journal Entry: Musings on Midcoast Maine

midcoast maine

June 14, 2023

We are on the coast of Maine on the first morning of our anniversary trip which I am also calling my birthday trip. It’s no longer hard to believe I’ve been married to a very decent–more than decent–a good man for an entire year. I’m nearly 31 years old. It feels more than true.

It’s beautiful here. I’ve seen so many beautiful places in my time on earth in this body. As this girl. This woman. I could never name my favorite place but the waters edge has my heart and I’m sure of that. It took me 30 years for me to name it… The way fog settles at the surface and again at the tops of the tree line.

The tide is receding now and revealing the massive amounts of seaweed adorning the sides of the rocks. I some some slight urge to lay in it. To drape it over my hair and my body and sink into it. To become one with it. I have an image of my head of a soft-bodied woman lying on her side, cradled by the soil and soft earth. I tried painting her in grade school though I could never do her justice. She would be beautiful out here on the exposed rocks–these huge gray-brown boulders. She could be me if I accepted that beauty as my own. I’ve always thought of myself as not skinny enough, too hard of edges, too muscular, too bland and too red-from-the-sun; tattoos tainting what could be soft and beautiful. I mourn for myself. Always finding the beauty in everyone and everything yet blind to what is herself.

Last night I dreamt of my cousin. She shot me her sister tried to save me. Me, barely surviving. Locked in a closet with the fate of death outside the closed door. Nose to the floor. Which fate is better, then? Clawing for survival or accepting death? I’ve chosen neither. I’ve chosen thriving, instead, which I had never recognized as an option before. I alone chose that path. Paved it for myself, despite the odds. I know I can choose the beautiful, soft woman. The goddess, the birth of Venus. The fairy-turned-sea witch. The mother destined to be the crone. Raw, vulnerable. I suppose it’s time for that. When death and mere survival are the only options and yet I find another way.

I speak of magic and I believe it wholeheartedly. I can choose it for myself. Am I ready? I feel like I am. I feel like I don’t even realize how ready I am. And so I will. I’ll choose myself. Her. Me. Us. In this landscape and this color palette and this body and this form and this life and accept love and magic and beauty as truth. And so it is. And so it will always be.

midcoast maine vacation

wild lupines in maine

I could spend an entire summer here in this one-room cabin on the water. It’s so quiet here. The lull of the wake, the osprey, the soft hum of the fisherman’s boats, the crow I know in the distance. I’d watch the tide go in and out and never not be in awe at how quickly it seems to happen. Never not wonder where it goes when it recedes and if it longs to be back and fill it’s own space again. Never not be in awe of the sheer will of the moon.

Yesterday I saved two, maybe 3, minnows stuck in a tide-pool-gone-dry at low tide. There were more but they were already lifeless. I felt good about the ones I found on time. Felt like it was the least I could do to give thanks for my time here. The sea and what it reveals is such a treat to my senses. The slippery seaweed–plump and firm, the burnt orange, the sea-green, the white and speckled stones adorning the floor. The conches perfect shells, the opened oysters all purple and shimmering. The massive granite stones with their marks of memories of ten million tides and counting.

But–the wild lupine. Those were unexpected. Caught me by surprise. Showered me in beauty and in delight. The most vibrant, glorious colors. And fields of them–everywhere. Purple of all shades and pinks, touching the sky. The contrast of them against the foggy gray-green hues of the landscape if just a gift. If they weren’t made that way for joy alone, then why?

I choose my houses on walks based on colors of shutters and front doors and front-yard gardens. The smell of huge lilac bushes flooding the roads. I’m at peace here.

If not here, then where?

I mulled that line over in my head for a few minutes before putting it on paper and it triggered that sensation in the pit of my stomach. The one that feels like it’s clenched tight and then twisted upside down. It’s the feeling–if you’re looking for it–right before you could cry. I don’t even know what it means. Not really.

But someday I’m going to wake up and see water. I’m sure that there is nothing wrong with romanticizing your life. Food, joys, rituals, music, feelings. These are the what makes up a life and what memories are created from. How could I ever be afraid of any?

Today is June 17, 2023. Yesterday I turned 31-years-old. We woke up early to catch the ferry to Monhegan Island. The place that inspired this trip. The place I found via a photo in a magazine years ago and kept it until I found myself there. I was hoping it lived up to the photo. It far surpassed my expectations.  It was the only sunny day we’ve had since we arrived in New England. Which, I don’t mind but a sunny day really does help to bring joy and life into a birthday. The boat ride was long but it as worth it. It truly was like being transported into another world. Full of fairytales and art and houses by the sea and emerald and turquoise blue waters and stones of every color and smooth round rocks and colorful gardens and verdant cliff sides and mossy forests and beaches of sea glass and a life so romanticized it nearly falls unthinkable, unimaginable because of the quaintness and the magic it consumes.

We hiked through woods that fairies lived in, past their homes and flowers and mushrooms all worthy of their own fairytale. The trail opened up to a beach filled with the most beautiful round stones and sea glass of every color. Water the most vibrant shade of green-blue. I changed into my swimsuit and had my breath taken away by the ice cold water at my feet. Colder than any water I’ve ever felt, creek or river or sea alike. I waded to my knees and stayed until I could no longer feel from the knees down. And although I desperately longed to be fulled submerged and swim through halls of seaweed and stone I couldn’t force my body to go further. But, in my mind–I did.

And I felt the seaweed wrap it’s arms around my body, danced in unison and returned to shore clean and renewed and catching my breath. It’s somewhere I’m sure to return to often. I feel my body sliding down the granite rock and into the crystal blue water that pricks every inch of my skin like needles and tells me I’m beautiful and begs me to return.

Even the discarded lobster traps on the banks fall way to the beauty and magic of the place. Devoted themselves to lie there and slowly give back, piece by piece, to the sea to be tumbled and smoothed and who is anyone to say they are less magnificent than the green-flecked granite stone, the amber or deep-green glass pebble?

I imagine my tears the color of this water. My cells somewhere washed up on the shore at low tide. Waiting, patiently, to the touched again by the stinging rush of the ocean’s wave.

Tricia Taylor Paducah Ky Photographer

Link to our one-room cabin in Bremen, ME

Want to read more musings? Check out these and visit my website for more writings.

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