As I was waiting for the train this morning, I mentioned to my sister that one of the many things that I like about train travel is the feeling of being outside of place. I sit next to the window and I see cornfields and rivers and depots pass by but I can’t touch them. When the train stops at Waterbury and Amherst, the train is in those towns, but I don’t feel like I am. Until I step out at Penn Station, I’m neither here nor there. I’m in between.
In between is also a fair description of the past few weeks of my life. I’ve been making my annual August tour of New England—a couple weeks in Maine, a couple weeks in Vermont, a couple days in New York City, then back to Phoenix. I’ve had a lot of family time, a lot of being out of doors in the green, a lot of swimming, and a bit of drinking beer in the afternoon. I’m not sure that I have anything profound to say about it, but it’s been a good trip so far.
Wanna come along?
We begin in Phoenix, where the sunflowers on my kitchen counter explain everything you need to know about why I decided to go elsewhere in August.
This is elsewhere, and I was standing in it very soon after I arrived.
Sand Beach. You know you’re in Maine when you have to specify that a beach has sand.
I am just now realizing that most of these photos include water, which became something of a theme. A light rain was misting when I got off the plane in Trenton and my skin drank up the humidity as if I’d been living in a desert or something. The mist, the fog, the rain that lasted an entire day, the midnight thunderstorms, the lakes, the ponds, the streams and rivers and ocean. I drank it all up. Well, I didn’t literally drink the ocean.
But I came close.
That water is cold, by the way. Very cold.
This is warmer:
Lake of the Woods. More generally known these days as Lakewood, but where’s the romance in that?
I went for a hike.
And found water.
Three years ago, I spent most of the summer at Nori’s house and we hiked every mountain in Acadia. Nori is what you might call a Trusty Hiking Companion. Here she is at the top of Cedar Swamp Mountain.
However she can’t hike the Precipice Trail, on account of this stuff:
But for those of us who can manage it, the view is delightful.
And now I’m getting a little sleepy from the train, so let’s relax with some scenic side trips. One rainy afternoon, I ducked into the Somesville Meeting House to dry off.
And then went back out into the rain and walked across that sweet little arched bridge that you see in the background. And wiped out hard at the far end. My elbows were purple for a week.
No pictures of my elbows.
If you leave MDI for a couple days, and head south down Route 1 toward Rockland, you’ll pass Windsor Chairmakers just outside of Lincolnville. I’ve driven past that place many, many times. This time I went inside.
They have a lot of tools at Windsor Chairmakers.
And now I’m starting to slip into the train daze, wherein I have lost all reference points and am not sure who I am or where in time I might find myself. It happens to me often on long trips, but maybe it’s worse today because I’ve been revisiting places that I was in a couple weeks ago, but also years ago. The decades and towns are shifting around for me, sliding on rails, and the sign out the window says that I just passed through Windsor, Connecticut, which is doing nothing to interrupt this fugue state. Windsor Windsor everywhere.
And then we’re in Belfast. That’s Belfast, Maine, not Belfast, Ireland. Wow, this really isn’t helping.
Blue Hill Harbor. And this time I’m sure. The sculpture is from the Schoodic International Sculpture Symposium and if you don’t know what that is, you should.
Blue Hill Falls.
A long time ago, when I lived in Maine but not near the ocean, I came down here sometimes to see the sea and be happy.
The schooner Bowdoin has made 28 trips north of the Arctic Circle since she was launched in 1921, She is now owned by Maine Maritime Academy in Castine. And I am a walking guide book.
Quick, before I lose track of myself entirely amid harbors and fog, let’s loop back to the island for some quality rock skipping in Preble Cove. With a side order of fog.
And then we’re off to Vermont and there are no pictures of the trip itself on account of I was driving. But as soon as I unpacked, I begged the locals to take me hiking. We climbed Stowe Pinnacle, which is a fine thing to do.
From the top, you get a big view of Mount Mansfield and the Worcester Range. Plus a lot of farms.
We got back down to the bottom just in time for sunset.
Speaking of sunsets, one of my favorite things to do when I’m in Burlington is to watch the sun sink over Lake Champlain, turning the Adirondacks purple across the water.
This is the view from Battery Park up on top of the bluff.
And these are from the bike path.
True, that last isn’t a lake. But it seemed to represent something about Burlington. And since we’ve already swerved off topic, let me just casually mention that I rode up the Depot Street hill three times last week. Without stopping.
However, we don’t need to dwell on my accomplishments, impressive though they may be. Let us instead take a hike and enjoy a view of the Ethan Allen tower. This is not a view from the tower, mind you, because the tower was locked. Which is not to say that it is uninhabited.
Anyway, since the tower is a bust, let’s go to the beach one more time before we skip town.
Oh, but there are no pictures from the beach outings, because there was entirely too much swimming to do and too many children to splash and who wants to bother with cameras? Take a moment, if you’d like, to imagine blue skies, shady trees, the gradual slope of beach easing under cool (but not cold) water, some exaggerated squeals, a snack-seeking duck, sun-dazed smiles on the way back home, and then the drizzle of sand falling out of our swimsuits onto the floor. It was a lot like that.
Here’s the lake at least.
And that brings us to here and now. Here means Seat A, Row 14 on the next to last car of the Vermonter, somewhere outside New Haven, Connecticut. And I think that now means Saturday, September 7, 2013. But then again, maybe not.
Won’t know for sure until I get to New York.