Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Loss


My mother visited us for a few days, and on Saturday afternoon we drove down the St. George peninsula to Port Clyde, stopping at Spruce Head and Tenant's Harbor. We've done this route scores of times, with visitors and without, and never tire of it. Little has changed in these past 15 years. The marriage of land and ocean is still exquisite in Spruce Head; the saltwater farm at Waterman Beach has not been sold for development; hardy souls still swim at Drift In Beach; the silk pocket that is Tenant's Harbor is full of jewels; the Maine Trax ice cream in Port Clyde is still delicious and costs you 25 minutes in line but little in money. But we really make the trip to go to Marshall Point again, and it's especially wonderful to see and hear and feel the reaction of someone who's never been.

"One of the most beautiful places on the entire coast," I say to my mom and I think she agrees. The physical setting is one thing, surf and black granite and the open ocean and a wide view of islands near and far; but the small neat lighthouse and the white keeper's house are almost unbearably beautiful, not just because of their setting but because of the elegance and care of their structure in spite of the dangers of which they warn. They are works of art standing against chaos and death.

Last year a group of local citizens put up the St. George Fishermen Memorial to commemorate those lost at sea in the last 60-some years. My mother has been a widow now for a few weeks, and I hope she drew some comfort from the human ability to stand up, reach out, remember.


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