Thursday, July 1, 2010

Ex of the city

Two years ago today was the first day of my semi-retirement, and the feeling of Mainely joy hasn't diminished. There were a few moments yesterday when I thought it had. Upon arriving from the city, I didn't get the immediate sense of release and relief that usually accompanies that first look out on the bay It took a few hours this time.

Put it down to a difficult June, whose usual pacific and beautiful days were filled with obligations, early heat and humidity, the threat of a double-dip recesssion, the incredible despair in the Gulf of Mexico, and the continued tragedies of Iraq and Afghanistan. Little time in Maine was registered. The lupine and the lilacs were barely glimpsed.

Not that the difficult times of life don't happen up here as well. But if they do, it somehow seems easier to bear. In times of stress a young Maine acquaintance says, "We're just living on a ball spinning in space." It's hard to remember that in the antics of the man-made city.

I won't go so far - yet- as to agree with Thoreau: "You cannot have a deep sympathy with both man and nature." But getting cantankerous and crabby is worrisome, and you wonder if you're getting old, or your inner hermit is demanding unconditional independence. Maine arrives just in time, and you remember that Massachusetts drivers are always rude, and one's ability to move furniture is naturally diminished by age, and the markets will undoubtedly revive, and there's nothing you can do about the Taliban, and there is something you can do about BP.

And you are happy to agree whole-heartedly with lonely, ugly, transcendent Thoreau when he wrote, "I felt a positive yearning towards one bush this afternoon. There was a match for me at last. I fell in love with a shrub oak."

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