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

Friday, July 10, 2009


The complaining about the weather worked - yesterday and today have been the kind of days that feature on Maine tourist websites, where the sky is blue all the way to the horizon, the islands have no haze, the ocean's color doesn't even hint of gray or green, all people are smiling. And why not? The law of averages, if not deservedness, says we are due for some bright pleasure.
So the work space moves from the rocking chair to the deck chair. The dog is outside all day, unnapped, and therefore sleeps all night without moving, bothering, licking, sneezing, groaning, grumbling, or growling softly at the night creatures that might be there. I do little chores around the yard in the afternoon: raking up stray twigs where Dave wood-chipped yesterday; channeling water out of the driveway (which is STILL flooded); spraying Bobex to keep the deer away from the pretty little variegated hostas; sweeping the brick walkways of their latest accumulation of dried mud and dust; taking down and sawing up the little dead fir at the edge of the shore. Ah, now I remember what it's like to sweat and get physically tired. The beauty of the day allows me, makes me, appreciate my mortality, that's how we're wired, and as I labor over the fallen tree, making little piles of sawdust for the bees to burrow in, sawing chunks off the trunk, then stopping far too often to look at the bay and cool off, I think of the days this little tree went through, foggy and stormy and sunny and icy, and why it died. The inside core of the trunk has only a hint of punk; something else killed it. It stood strong for as long as it could, and I think of my father, suffering so many stormy days these last few years, weathering storms of criticism and anxiety all his life, battling the cancer in his core, perhaps now getting ready to return to dust. The sweat drips in my eyes. Or is it tears?

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