There is the saying of "Over the river and through the woods, to Grandmother's house we go." While not that of Grandma, it can definitely be the description of the entry point for my inaugural summer years in the state of Maine.
The Pratt's Island bridge was made of old planks of wood that were closely placed together and when our car rattled along it, the sound of the tire tracks became very clear. We felt the car buckle up and down. Black metal railings were alongside the bridge. When we got off of the bridge, we followed a dusty wooden path to a fork in the island road. Our cottage road was straight ahead with only a few cottages on our section of Pratt's Island. The cottage was painted grey and was nestled from the driveway and was 75 feet from the ocean shore. That was in the days when the zoning allowed dwellings to be built so close to shore.
Nestled in the woods of the off country sits a small cottage with a grand entrance. The cottage has primitive indoor plumbing and pipes that creak at the slightest sound. The water comes from the above ground plastic and corroding metal pipes. It has a brackish flavor and is mostly good for washing ones body. The daily water is drawn from the Beeth Springs Well outside of Boothbay Harbor. When my dad and I and Mom went to town for the water, we carried our 2 gallon plastic jugs and our 20 gallon green containers which we would fill up.
The paneling on the walls is rough-hewn and the rockers on the porch are somewhat uncomfortable with cushions dating back to the 1960's. As I sit in the rocker, it moves gingerly back and forth and it is tough to comfortably grab on to the bar of the rocker since it is so long. These rockers are not for taking a long comfortable nap on the shore.
The fireplace in front of the living room is made of stone cemented into place. One can see the caulking that goes along the blocks of stone.
The floor is of old pinewood and occasionally has an uneven bent to it. It definitely adds character to the room. Above us is the open ceiling with the beams of wood going across.
Old floor lamps lit the room.
I often spent a summer afternoon on that Pratt's Island bridge going fishing. I left the cottage with my yellow Plano tackle box and fishing pole in hand. I never caught fish but mostly caught these green crabs. They tugged at my line often and danced on the edge of the fishing pole as I reeled them to the edge of the bridge and released them down below. As I crabbed, I saw the sailboats leaving Cozy Harbor and moving through to the Sheepscot River. Often when I came home from my expedition, I commented to my Mom and Dad, "Hey, I caught about 15 crabs this afternoon!" Mom commented, "Those crabs must have been awfully hungry. Are you sure that they were not the same crab each time!" I commented, "Probably, but it was still fun catching and releasing them. I only wish that I could have brought you and Dad some dinner tonight."
On another one of those forks at the end of the bridge was the pathway that went down to the dock where we kept our rowboat to get out to our 16 foot motorboat. This was a path that we took often to go cruising along the Sheepscot River. Oh for those days to happen again where I could get away and spend some fresh time in the Maine air and breathe freshness and salt.
Approaching the local landing dock, one walked along a narrow 10 foot passage approaching the ramp to our small dock that held about 6 skiffs and rowboats. Ours was tied up and we put our gear on board and headed out to our boat. Many stories can be told of our romps in the fog and our times heading into the open waters with Uncle Lenny almost getting washed out to sea.
It was at this dock that I made my famous solo adventure in the Cozy Harbor "Pond". For my adventure, I did not seek to travel treks of 2000 miles across the country but in small distances on pathways of inland seas.
What really characterizes the memories of Maine is the openness of the land itself. There is not a lot of development to encroach on its beauty in spots. Just being able to sit out in the open air and watch as the birds pass by on their commute to their gull rocks from their long day at sea to the times being able to lean against the edge of the boat to see a series of passing lighthouses and lobsterboats passing by.
I loved looking at those spetacular sunsets and the rarest of evenings with the Northern Lights. Those evenings reflect me forward to this Thursday evening when I traveled around the city of Shelton and witnessed my first double rainbow=not intruded by anything and being surrounded by the open space. I kept looking for where that pot of gold may be placed. I just could not find it!!!
I yearn for those times to be quiet and to be an innocent teenager growing up. Trying to find and navigate the course of my life in the clarity of the moment and the times of foggy confusion that sometimes existed. I wish at times I was small enough to nestle beneath my mom's warm arms and know that all would be fine and I would not have to worry.