Luck (and some good will on the part of motel employees) brought me to Morgan's Bed and Breakfast, Sheidac, NB. The place has great home-like atmostphere and nice food. I discovered there are Canadians who want to escape their country's cold.
Loons and Fogs
September 3rd. Saturday night
It was a rush against time for my insurance expiration. Instead of the prettier, but longer, scenic route 1, I opted this time for the highways. I took the 1A from Ellsworth, stopped to fuel at Holden, and then interstates 95 and 295 . It was an easy truck-free drive down until the Portland area, where a nightmarish maze of highways, complete with impatient drivers trying to get home fast, required my utmost concentration.
The GPS ordered me to keep left and merge Left, difficult driving. The daylight was fading, making it harder to see. I arrived exhausted at Kennebunk Pond, and missed Jim’s house in the dark. His sister and father, startled by the unexpected wild driving in their back yard, got out in their pajamas. Everybody sighed a sigh of relief, realizing it was me. Jim was out this evening for a concert. Jim’s Sister turned on the lights for me at his house and helped me get parked. By 11 pm, after hoisting my stuff up the narrow wooden stairs, I sat down to write in my diary.
When Jim came back, he reassured me there were no ill consequences for returning the car on Monday (Labor Day). We could probably just drop it at the rental’s parking, even if there was nobody in the office.
Going Native - Lobster Sunday with Family
A traditional Sunday lobster meal was one way of relaxing the spirit in a nice family atmosphere. Mother and Father preferred to have their meal at home, so it was me, Jim, Sister and Brother-in-law at the wooden table under the trees canopy. I didn’t eat the lobsters, but had mussels in melted butter, corn-on-the-cob and salad.
Everything was tasty, the conversation was lively, stories flowed. It was nice to see J. and D. together, a couple so perfectly tuned to each other. These people are not seeking to do big travelling. They perfectly enjoy their quiet local lives. It is nice to see people who are fully content in their circumstances, in who they are.
On Monday we returned the car. Nobody was at the rental place, and we went shopping at the nearby Walmart. I bought some odds and ends, including a nice hippie-style new wallet, and re-stocked on some food items.
In the afternoon I swam to the island and back. I wore my new thermal overshirt and goggles, but the experience was less rewarding than before. The water was colder. The lake was funky and dirty. Much of the aquatic vegetation was gone, and the debris was floating on the surface with dead insects and fallen leaves.
Getting Empowered with Kayaking
Back in my first period at the Kennebunk Pond, Jim and I went kayaking together. This time, he taught me how to do everything myself. I learned how to unhook the boat and take it down from the rack, how to shake out the spiders that tended to settle inside, take off the cover, position the rudder, pull the boat to the water and hoist it back up to the bulkhead when I returned.
His trust empowered me to do all this heavy hoisting and lifting. So many times in my life men took away my power by not trusting me in things technical. Here was another attitude. It worked, and I enjoyed being able to manage the whole thing at my own pace and convenience.
Feeling "Chosen" - Me and "My" Loons
We heard them first thing in the mornings. I would run to the shore to be greeted by a cute peaceful loon, just a few meters away from the shoreline. In my mind she was waiting just for me.
I “determined” it was a female because the colors were more faded. I found out later that this is not how you tell the gender with loons. Apparently, there is no easy way to tell. You needed to look into their “intimate” parts or do a blood test for a definite identification.
Today, Tuesday, was free from shopping and errands. I went kayaking the Pond on my own. The female Loonie was already expecting me in front of the house. I turned my kayak and followed her to the Kennebunk Pond public beach. While in the shallows, the male showed up as well. They both dived in and popped out at different spots.
I got a feel that they “sensed” my desire to get out into the open. I started swimming northeast along the coves with them in tow. Spectacularly, once in a while, they would “stand” up in the water, vigorously flapping and shaking their wings, heads raised. A showoff, or just a way to clean and dry? They seemed at that point to not have any doubts or apprehensions regarding me.
Once in a while, when I thought I lost them, hop plop, voila, they showed up out of nowhere. Like dolphins racing in front of a boat, one of them would pop right in front of the kayak. When we reached the island, they “read my mind” again. Instead of continuing to cross the length of the lake, they started crossing it widthwise. I followed them as they separated and united, got closer and farther away from each other and from me.
When I got tired, they seemed to intuit my need, and started to return, bay by bay and cove by cove. At this point I already “knew” that they would bring me back home, and so it was. But a few minutes before destination, they suddenly disappeared, perhaps because a large boat zoomed in. Just as I was giving up, Loonie popped up once more about two meters in front of the house. A farewell?
Jim asked if I felt “chosen”. I said I sure did. I felt like the baby in “The Secret of Roan Inish” who, in his floating cradle, was escorted by the pod of seals. One of my favorite movies ever.
Later on, Jim said I should stay farther from the loons, that I was disturbing their routines. I did not feel there was a problem, but did not wish to argue. To this day, I cherish that special bond, as I saw it, between me and some loons on a small Maine pond.
Loons. Pics taken from shore. Not very glorious, but that’s what I got.
One last thought: the Canadian dollar features a loon, peacefully swimming in a calm lake with a forested island in the background. The American dollar features a bald eagle carrying arrows and olive branches in its talons, symbolizing “the powers of war and peace respectively”, a mysterious pyramid in “a barren landscape” and an “eye of providence”. Food for thought?
The Disappearing Pond
Jim called me excitedly first thing in the morning: “Come, see the pond”, but The Pond had disappeared. A blanket of fog created that mystical, unworldly consciousness that seems to always “lurk” behind the bright and visible of the everyday.
Sailboat, pontoon and dock under the dock of fog.