Falling in Love with Maine
I never intended to fall in love with Maine. I spent a good portion of my life in the desert southwest. I love the expansiveness of a southwestern sky, the small and tenacious blooms that grow in dry and sandy soil, the smell of creosote after a rain storm. But there are things too in the desert that I tired of, especially with small children in tow: plants with spines, poisonous critters that hide in your shoes, and the incessant heat. After 30 some years, it seemed time for a change.
Initially, my husband and I thought we'd move back to my roots in the Midwest, where we could enjoy the four seasons. Trees. Grass. Sledding in winter. It sounded like the change we needed, and so we moved. But life in the Midwest was, well, kind of blah. Perhaps because it lacked the kind of dramatic landscapes we were used to, or maybe it was just the constant middle-of-the-night tornado warnings. As much as we wanted to feel comfortable there, we just never felt totally at home.
My husband thought New England might be a better fit for us; a summer road-trip to the East Coast confirmed it. Immediately it captured our imaginations, and got us dreaming about a new kind of life -- one that did not involve subdivisions, strip malls and severe thunderstorm warnings (it did involve sheep farming but that's a different blog post). When circumstances allowed it, we pulled up stakes and moved again, this time landing in the temporary furnished digs of a seaside winter rental (in Maine). It really wasn't supposed to be Maine. In fact, my husband was dead set against it, because, well, Maine was so far north. We might have to wear flannel. And duck boots. But finding a short term rental with six kids has its own set of challenges, and when presented with a seen-better-days rental right on the harbor and a minutes walk from the beach? Well we took it. Even though it was in Maine.
It didn't take long for this desert girl to be smitten by the salt air, the boats, the amazing beauty of the sea. Not to mention the history, the scenic woods, the wildlife. And of course the people; so friendly and unpretentious. We felt welcomed here. Even that first winter with its' six foot snow drifts didn't deter my growing affection. So when it came time to start searching for that sheep farm in New Hampshire? Well, my heart wasn't in it. I wanted something different, something seacoast, something only Maine could offer. This place had gotten deep into my bones and I just knew I wanted to stay forever.
Three years later, we are happily entrenched in the woods, a few minutes drive from that winter beach rental, the harbor, and "our" beach. My art has been recharged (so much inspiration!), there is flannel in my closet (and on my bed!) and this year I'm buying myself a pair of duck boots. And I can't imagine a better place to live a happy life, to be an artist, or to raise a family.... Maine really is the "way life should be."