With the beginning of summer and the return of hot weather, my thoughts turn to the place where I spent so many summers with my kids. I have the urge to jump in the car and head north as I did most years as soon as school got out and sometimes a day or two before. How lucky were we to spend so many beautiful days on an island in Maine surrounded by mountains, lakes, woods and the ocean. But my favorite place was probably the meadow.The sound of the wind traveling through the tall grasses, the buzzing of insects, the wildflowers, the birds. I loved the hum of activity, the sunshine, the many little worlds contained in the expanse of the field. Sending the kids out to pick wildflowers for the dinner table. Sitting on the deck and listening to the hum of activity. It was mesmerizing and calming at the same time. (Maine summer 1997 above).
Life got pretty complicated for my kids and me about ten years ago and summers in Maine became a thing of the past, but I have so many happy memories of those times.
This weekend, I drove the familiar route on my way to help my daughter move her things back home for the summer break. As I drove up the Maine Turnpike, I saw swaths of purple along the side of the road. It was lupine season. I had forgotten! So unexpected and so beautiful. One of the best children’s books ever is this one about the lupine lady. One of our family favorites.I didn’t have much time during this visit to do much more than spend a few minutes at a couple of old haunts. The roads where our old house used to be has one of the biggest fields of lupines on the island, but I just couldn’t bring myself to drive down it. So I went instead to a spot where the kids and I used to go to watch the sun set over Blueberry Hill.And to the lake where I used to love to swim (still do but too cold this trip).So peaceful. There is a big rock that we used to swim out to but I just liked being able to swim and swim without chlorine or line lanes or bumping into other people.Lily pads below.There were were wisps of fog shrouding the tops of some of the mountains.Fog, sky and the shadows of trees forming a pattern on the field.The harbor is just starting to have boats on moorings. In a few weeks, it will be full of boats. The day was mostly gray with bits of sunlight poking through. It matched my mood.Not so much sad but thoughtful. I don’t wish my children young again. I am not interested in turning back time, even if I could, but those summers were precious. Every life is filled with befores and afters. This time when my children were little and we spent summers in Maine was ironically both an after-after some tough times that I never expected to come again and then turned out to be a before-before a big challenging shift that I didn’t see coming. I had planned on spending the rest of my summers in Maine but things turned out differently as they often do. This weekend in Maine, thoughts of those happy times swirled around me like friendly spirits. (Maine summer of 2002 below with our dog Sam, a gentle soul, much missed)I ended up at the lake where we would take long walks as a family on a path along the shore to another rock where we would swim. This year I didn’t have time to do the walk so I just sat on a rock in the sun and took in the beauty. A peek at the Western Mountains and a favorite hiking trail.
Rocks line the shore.The surface of the pond like a path spread out before me.Beautiful beyond words.