Half a farmer. Half a sailor.
Mainers know what it is to love land, sea and sky. They dig into the thin veneer of earth upon the granite the way star-seekers harvest hope from the fragile layer of the thin “onion skin” of atmosphere that surrounds the planet. Knowing that what sustains us will flourish if the planting is right and the circumstances not too cold or hot, but just in the Goldilocks zone.
They know too where the bears live. The forested kind of their ancestors, a few of which tread the far north along with moose and deer. And the magellanic spirits that lumber in great slow rollers or lurching waves from the ocean depths. Beneath the surfaces of land and sea lie wonders few have ever seen and when the surface is calm on an August morning, shimmering with the promise of a summer day to come, it holds a mirror to the day. And to the sky.
Mainers look up. With a weather eye. With an orchestration of senses, from sound to smell, to bring the impossibly far future in what once seemed an impossible land for living into better focus. They see “mare’s tails and mackerel scale” clouds that say “make hay while the sun shines” and feel the cool threads of the cold front before the distant thunder even thinks to make itself heard. They can sense good days and bad for the lobster boats and blueberry crop – all through an internalized set of analytics honed with history and frequent use.
Half farmers, half sailors, Mainers love the joys of turning labor into something to feed a family (even if it’s just the New England miracle of a sun-ripened peach straight from the tree to a small boy’s expectant hand). They love the ocean and its colors, shapes and sounds – the sketch drawn for a sail to follow by a windline skimming across the bay; navigating the unseen of current and shoal with the sure hand of a lifetime’s skill, lifting to the steady breeze that is the most sublime of a sailor’s joys.
On the coast of Maine, land, sea and sky intersect in a way that conjures magic and sureties. You can see the stars here, the horizon and the tips of spruces. And appreciate the immediate truths of being outward or homeward bound. The sailor and the farmer intertwine in the thin quicksilver of life in this place, in this moment. Stern of jaw and soft of heart, with a hand on rake and tiller and stars to steer them by.