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

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Down the shore

This weekend's storm brought big surf but no more downed trees, at least close by. Once again, central and northern Maine seems to have escaped the worst of it, like the rain and cold and wind from Saturday noon till Monday midnight in Boston. I see a little evidence of further havoc in Owls Head, but nothing like the February southeaster. That one hit our neighbor's trees especially hard, such that our view down the shore to the south is considerably opened up.

At high tide today I could actually see the waves break on the rocks. Usually you have to supplement the experience of high surf at high tide by going outside, because from inside the bank hides the drama. In fact, if you aren't concentrating, the unseen boom and roar occasionally makes you look up and curse at the boat or plane that dares to come so close.

But at noon today there was no danger of mistaking demon motors. I could just stare at the light blue of the sky merging into the darker blue of the water turning slightly green in the cresting wave crashing gloriously white on the green-brown rockweed splashing the brown rocks highlighting the dry white ones. And the spruce lean lovingly, as if to embrace it all. It was hard to tear myself away for lunch, but at least feeding was easy: my mouth was already open, and had been for a long time.

I'm sorry to think that the destruction of trees, either by wind or by our well-meaning neighbor worried about the next storm, has caused this joy. The fall of trees is something to mourn, not rejoice. But here I am, enjoying their absence, just as I and many other creatures like deer and rabbits and the Canada lynx enjoy the edges of things, the cut woods, the field of corn abutting the copse, the unobstructed view down the shore. The works of humans can be pleasing and beneficial, but when it comes all the way down to it, even to our new view, I much prefer the works of nature, especially our splendid Maine coast, made all the more beautiful since we've been in Florida, where the green water heats up the tropics of imagination but where the shore, bordered at best by short scrub that looks diseased or tall palms that look artificial and at worst by high rises, looks always the same.

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