I never grew up being a beach lover.
I remember loving it when I was a kid – We used to go almost every weekend during the summers, sitting in almost the same spot each time on 38th street. But something changed when I was around 13 years old. I don’t know what happened, but the idea of sand and sunscreen in my eyes and toes disgusted me. Shortly after this, I went to boarding school and Carmel-By-the-Sea became the only beach I would ever tolerate – mostly because it was the only beach I knew that required jeans and a down jacket more or less 360 days of the year. No sunscreen needed and bonfires for days.
And then the East Coast happened.
And then Maine happened.
I wrote about the first time I went to Maine last fall; Just before Thanksgiving, I took the train to Portland to get away for a day. A few weeks before then, I decided I wanted to take some time out of the city and see something I hadn’t seen before. Portland quickly came to mind as being a city that was cheaply accessible by train and had the East Coast waterfront I was looking for. Maybe it was also my fandom for Once Upon a Time on ABC, but you get the point. I wanted Maine, and something in me was being called to it.
Going to Maine was transformative, to say the least. The train ride was absolutely gorgeous, and the minute we crossed over the Maine border it was like I had been transported to another world. I put my phone on Airplane Mode and let myself be carried away. And Portland was charming – everyone in the shops was so welcoming, the food was delicious, and the peacefulness allowed me to sit in a Starbucks for two hours for some deep, deep reflection. I had purposefully escaped to Maine because I needed to give myself the space to decide what I wanted to do with my next adventure. Was I going to law school here or in California? Was this something I really wanted? Was I going to decline the big scholarships? It was a heavy day, but it cleared the air and gave me a peace of mind that I never thought I would have. When I returned home that evening, all was well…
As I am writing this, I am sitting upright in a small twin bed in York with a large cup of coffee, and the sun peaking through the window. A month ago, my cousin (more like cool aunt / best friend / East Coast adopted grandmother) Lucille invited me to her house in Maine for a weekend. The tradition of coming to York has been in my family for many generations before me (since the 1930’s and earlier, not kidding), and the house in York is very special to the current family.
Yesterday we went shopping and drove around the whole area, both of York and Ogunquit. The weather couldn’t have been any better, and the sea and skies were as blue and as clear as you could have ever imagined. The beaches were covered in the most beautiful rocks, and the little towns we visited (like Perkins Cove, for instance) were the most charming, quintessential East Coast villages you would have ever seen. The New England life movie I have always dreamed of had finally come true – and I got to see a Maine lighthouse!!!!!! I got all emotional over a cement pole with a spinning light bulb in it. And here’s why –
Last time I visited Maine, I came because I was having a difficult time and needed to get away for a while. A month ago, when I agreed to this trip, I didn’t realize that I was going to need Maine as much as I did in this present moment. I am now at the end of my college career, and in the past couple of weeks I have had some moments that have really brought out “a lot.” It hasn’t been the easiest – and surprisingly enough, Maine came to me exactly when I needed her. Maine was there for me again, ready to take me with open arms and give me the space I needed. When I went outside the car to take pictures and stare at my first, true New England lighthouse… I saw the grass, the ocean flowing against the rocks, the kids running around…and a kind of quiet ran over me just as it did during my first trip to Portland. My heart was still racing from the excitement and the beauty around me, yet everything felt “okay.” All was well. Maine was giving me everything I needed.
Some people have a “place” they go to when they need to breathe or cool down. Some people consider this to be a park, a tree, a corner in their house…for me, it’s going to be Maine, no matter where I end up in life. I already know that Central Park isn’t going to give me the same effect. And I think it’s even stranger to think that Maine has been there for me these two times already, and additionally in an instance when I didn’t know that this was actually going to happen. Maine knew.
So now I’m going to finish my coffee, have some quiet time, and then go for a walk around the neighborhood. I’ve spent the last 24 hours almost completely electronic and social media-free, and I intend to have a very similar kind of day. The work emails can wait. Twitter can deliver its own news. My classmates can answer their own questions. I believe in miracles, and I’m going to let Maine work her magic. She’s done it every time.
And finally, because I’m a sap and in a good mood, here is some recommended happy-go-lucky music (appropriately epic playlist) to accompany this image:
Right Back Where We Started From – Maxine Nightingale
Heaven Must Be Missing an Angel – Tavares
Champagne Supernova – Oasis
Brandy – Looking Glass
Somewhere Over the Rainbow – Israel Kamakawiwo’Ole
Drive It Like You Stole It – Sing Street (please see this movie if you haven’t)
Tiny Dancer – Elton John
Do You Believe in Magic – Lovin Spoonful
Your Song – Ellie Goulding version