Staying at two Maine private campgrounds, Lobster Buoy and MountainView, I had my first American camping experiences, got acquainted with this wondrous Atlantic coast, and its significant tides, and learned from kids about burrowing clams. Also, Lobster Weekend, Owl's Head lighthouse and the awesome Fort Knox bridge.
Little House by the
Home, Sweet Home, Maine
And the house on Kennebunk Pond, Lyman, Maine, became my home away from home for the duration of the trip. A romantic relationship did not develop, but that did not affect the friendship that ensued. I received great hospitality and am extremely thankful and grateful.
Having a central point around which to revolve was very reassuring. It was also helpful to have a local address. Dear friend helped me with everything from shopping to getting the best car rental deal, from changing burnt fuses to lending me camping equipment, from figuring out credit card insurance to helping with cell phone contracts.
He was an inspiration and a great person to cook with and eat with. We talked about everything and listened to music together. I showed him my photos, and he played the mandolin for me.
Jim was also a great calming influence on my sometimes out-of-bounds Israeli spirit. We took each other out and he introduced me to his folks. When I swam off-shore he watched me from a distance. We rowed kayaks together, went to a music festival together, and shared company with family and friends.
Jim is a writer, earth scientist (specializes in acoustic ecology), and a wonderful person. He runs three websites:
There's Some History Here, Too
The house on the pond was a dream summer cabin. In the 40s, Jim’s grandfather bought an old summer cabin by Kennebunk Pond, Lyman, Maine. It was about 10 years old then. In 1957, the house was moved on wheels from its previous location by the pond to the back wood, and other structures were erected near the waterfront in its stead.
Jim’s mother and father did much renovation on the house, including building a proper bathroom to replace the existing outhouse. The back porch was added as well. Mother gave designing tips and Father did some of the work himself. Ingenuity was exercised into creating spaces inside the house: moveable partitions and large liftable windows, that can be hooked up to matching hangers on the ceilings. A rising door was installed above the stairs. When closed, using a system of ropes on pulleys, it separates the second floor from the first, keeping the heat at the bottom floor if desired. Once Jim and his sister were “too old” to sleep on the bunk bed, a sliding partition was erected on the second floor to separate their sleeping quarters.
Everything is sheer wood, except for the linoleum floor in the kitchen, as was customary in the 50s – 60s. Now Jim’s parents spend their summers in the newer building by the Pond, and his sister and brother-in-law stay in the other one when they visit.
It’s a house Israelis can only dream of, since, for lack of renewable forests, we are obligated to make do with the coldness of stones, cement, concrete, bricks and tiles. Jim and his sister spent their childhood summers here, and lived in Kennebunk during the winters, where they went to school. You feel the connectedness of people who generally do not venture too far from home and state. You hear conversations of people who grew up together, sharing so many memories. On his maternal paternal side Jim is 5th generation in the area. His sister is 7th generation living in the same old house in Massachusetts…
I was thinking – unlike Israelis, nobody is contesting their right to live on their land and enjoy it. It is serenely and perfectly peaceful and beautiful… Overtime they collected houses, cars, boats, they built garages, storage spaces and utility shacks. They worked, they earned, and now they reap the benefits onto a long old age unperturbed by world calamities.
Nearer God's Heart - The Garden
Jim’s mother, bound to her wheelchair, enjoys visitations from the winged kingdom. An assortment of birds land and peck on the birdfeeder hanging conveniently outside her window. Unfortunately climate change affects even this peaceful corner. Mother laments that some birds who used to come here, do no more.
Still, this is an oasis of tranquility. House and car doors are left unlocked, as in early days in the Kibbutzim, and nobody beeps, ever.
These are photos of the trees that greeted me at night, and their undergrowth. I always loved the live community under, in and on trees. Not much of it can be found in the needle carpets underneath the planted pine groves in Israel
This garden corner summarized for me the goodness of the people and place:
The kiss of the sun for pardon
The song of the birds for mirth
One is nearer God’s heart
In a garden
Than anywhere else on earth.
Looking again at these pictures, the house still feels so familiar and home-like to me. It is hard to believe I only spent two weeks there in all. I know where everything is. I learned to figure out the weird light switches. I can find my way up and down the stairs in the dark. I know where the chocolate bars and the Bailey bottle are hidden. I know even where the secret blueberries patch is…
Starting day 1, I walked the woods, swam, rowed and sat on the recreational boat as Jim was navigating it around the coves and across the lake. Best of all, I formed a personal connection with some magical birds, called loons…