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Retired publishing executive ecstatic with the idea of spending most of his time on the coast of Maine

Sunday, July 27, 2008


Peace and contentment are hard things to find, but your chances of happening upon them seem higher at the side of a lake. The water comes invitingly, without menace or surf, up to the grass of the lawn. Storms are unlikely to blow off your roof. Trees are everywhere the symbol of shelter but at the lake they protect without reservation. You can fall off your dock and be refreshed, not challenged. Loons swim closer, seem friendlier.

Not all lakes are so comforting. I can remember plenty of shallow puddles, flat, treeless shores, birdless waters, and some of them even in Maine. The Great Lakes are like oceans in their magnificence. But a Maine lake is usually different and Megunticook is the essence. It's not as wild as Upper Richardson or Moosehead but just as beautiful, it's largely developed but tastefully, and even the power boats seem to understand the peace of the shore and drive kindly in the middle of water. We walk along this shore hand-in-hand and see the beginning (or end) of a wedding celebration, three boys clowning on a dock, a large extended family, all ages, sitting on lawn chairs on the shore, a couple photographing the four loons just a few score feet away and then playing the photos back, arms draped around each other. If water views were music, this would be Mozart, a harmony of nature and people, as close to perfection as we can get.

Although if push came to shove, I slightly prefer Beethoven.

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