Stepping ashore for the first time
With the approaching 75th anniversary of Antoine de Saint-Exupery’s Little Prince (celebrated in the 2015 film, we decided to read his Wind, Sand and Stars. And oh my, are we glad we did!
Writing from the perspective of a pilot carrying the mails through the treacherous down-drafts and mechanical uncertainties of early aviation, he puts us on evocative terrain. There are touchstones of old movies (“Calling Salamanca! Calling Salamanca!” from the 1933 “Night Flight”) and the flare of a statistic we just read in Moneyball Michael Lewis’s new book, The Undoing Project: “the life expectancy of a non-instrument-rated pilot who flies into clouds is 178 seconds.”
But what brought us from Saint-Exupery to Boothbay Harbor was the recognition that, as for him, a new perspective, far from the roads that carry us from one shaded village to the next, one discovers magic: a whole universe that some may never see.
For us, here at Spruce Point Inn, the magical new perspective is taken from the water. The experience of stepping from terra firma into the floating world of the Atlantic is one every human should place at the top of his or her bucket list. (It’s only fair that, having crawled out of the ocean eons ago, we should “test the waters” every now and again.)
It may sound ridiculous to many readers, that we so strongly advocate stepping over the gunwales of a vessel, large or small. But we learned from a friend with an educational vessel not far from here that many of the fourth graders on the school field trip had never been on a boat before, and weren’t quite sure where the ocean was. (Then there was the Ohio houseguest who gazed out the window in Freeport and asked “what lake that was.”)
We in Boothbay, especially at Spruce Point, have the joy of being much of the water as of land. There’s the waterfront vista and lapping tide, the ringside seat to vessels of every description (especially for the Windjammer Days), and our own flotilla from kayaks to the Sarah Mead. Many guests know the delights of picking up a mooring off Spruce Point and stepping from Bright Line onto our welcoming dock.
But those who come from afar learn that Maine lobsters and lighthouses have fabulous tales to tell, the truth of which make them more vivid. Luminous insights adding to one’s trove of “oceanside memories made in Maine.”
Saint-Exupery, sailor of the skies, saw parts of the earth man had never seen before, from altitude. Here, coming from the ocean across the bar, one joins the equally-storied brotherhood who know that first experience of “stepping ashore.”