Hello again from Sarah Graves, writing to you from Eastport, Maine, where we are at the absolute tippity-top of the summer season. Sandals, shirtsleeves, seafood on the grill…it’s all here right now, and so are all the people who come to visit and enjoy it. Even the whales are back, eating up the tiny creatures who drift in on warmer tides, and a great white shark was sighted last week, so I guess they’ve found us, too.
I was excited to find a Little Library downtown near the fish pier a few weeks ago. Eastport has a great public library; our librarian is not only right on top of what’s hot and what’s not, she also by some magic manages to acquire it for us. In summer, the sea breeze blows right in through the big open front doors, keeping it cool inside, and in winter the small gas fireplace in the old-fashioned reading room makes the big, soft leather-upholstered chair in the corner a perfect hideout. But…little libraries! Tiny, cunning huts filled with books other people have chosen, to be discovered by you and in return you leave something good for them to read! Oh, what could be better? I love them in theory and in practice, and this one’s especially divine, I think.
Every year the gardens in Eastport seem to get better. For one thing we all get a little better at doing it just from longer practice, and for another this year-after-year soil amendment we are all doing is finally catching up with our soil’s natural tendency, which is to turn back into clay. But we just keep dumping compost on top, and the compost keeps soaking in, and the earthworms eat it a teensy bit faster than the clay-return system can work. There are benefits besides flowers, fruit, and vegetables, too; a few years ago a neighbor planted milkweed, cultivating diligently the weed that rampant land development is crowding out, and this year I saw a beautiful orange-and-black monarch butterfly fluttering through my yard. In my childhood I used to treasure their jewel-like chrysalises (how do you pluralize that, anyway? Is that right, the way I did it?) so I was glad to see the long-absent monarch.
Downtown Eastport is positively swarming with people. They stroll around gazing in charmed wonder at the sights we see every day, and they gaze at us, too, curious as to how we manage to live here. I don’t blame them; I wonder sometimes how we manage, too, especially in February when a trip to Bangor is both necessary (any kind of medical or dental specialty appointment means a long car ride, for instance) and horrid (50 miles of twisty two-lane followed by 100 more of desolate, icy highway). But for now when winter is just a bad dream, we all agree that in August, Eastport can be heaven on earth.