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

Monday, May 31, 2010

Down East, Day 2: Quoddy Head

We got to Quoddy Head State Park somewhat late in the afternoon, and were sorry for the lack of time, for it is achingly beautiful, one of the most gorgeous places I've ever been. The cliffs are high, the surf roars, trees grow out of the granite, and little streams cross under the Coastal Trail and fall like lace to the shore. We walked only some of the Coastal Trail, but maybe that's just as well; how much glory can this old heart take?

For a few weeks in the spring and in the fall, i.e., at the equinoxes, West Quoddy Head Lighthouse is the first place in the continental US to receive the morning light. (I'd like to tell you that we made the return pilgrimage the next morning to see the sunrise, but Sue's popovers - actually popunders, since they were concave with bananas and syrup - took precedence.) Quoddy truly seems like one of those end-of-world places. We're blessed to be able to experience it still. The work to preserve and conserve these places is God's.

We did have time to take a side trail to a perfect peat bog, complete with a boardwalk dotted with signs explaining the science and the poetry of these fascinating (and fragile) ecosystems. Compared to the wild shore not so far away, where everything seemed oversized, the bog was quiet, petite, attenuated. What trees there were matched me both in height and in years. We went from being dwarfs to the firs and cliffs to being giants to the pitcher plants. At times like these, I'm always astounded at the range and reach of beauty.

Reluctantly, we left Quoddy Head at dusk and went to dinner. In a daze I allowed myself the fried clam plate, with fries and slaw. What matters a little cholesterol at the end of the world?

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