Lea Wait, here, enjoying summer in Maine. Temperatures and humidity have been a bit higher than usual this summer, but compared to other parts of the country we have nothing to complain about. (Although occasionally we complain anyway. I suspect complaining about weather is part of human DNA.)
When I used to vacation in Maine for two or three weeks in the summer I swallowed the Maine experience in large gulps. Sometimes literally. I ate lobsters, clams, scallops, mussels, haddock, salmon … every day at least once. I went on boat rides. I attended auctions and checked out flea markets and antique shops and shows. I read as much as I could, when I wasn’t at a farmer’s market, or picking blueberries, or shopping the outlets with my daughters for back-to-school-and-work clothes. The many gift and craft shops in our area provided a good start on my Christmas gift shopping.
Now that I live here, though, there are no vacations. Sure, I eat more seafood than I did when I lived in other places. (The lobsters pictured in my kitchen sink are dinner.) And my husband (who does most of our cooking) checks out a couple of farmers’ markets each week.
But this year I’m under deadline. My next mystery (Shadows on a Morning in Maine, the eighth in my Shadows Antique Print Mystery series,) is due to the editor September 1. My fellow Maine Crime Writes refer to this period of last-month panic as “writers’ jail.” No vacationing involved.
Still, it is summer in Maine, so I try to sneak in bits of outside time. A walk. An occasional day-trip. And, most often, I sit on my porch, overlooking the Sheepscot River. If I’m there during the day it’s usually because I’m editing the hard copy of pages I’ve written. Yesterday about 150 pages I thought were well-secured escaped … flying all over the porch and (a few) into the yard. Bob and I raced after them, grateful that, yes, they had page numbers. If it’s late in the day, I’m sipping wine (or lemonade, if I’ll be working later that night) accompanied by Bob, and often, by neighbors who find our porch welcoming. Friends sometimes bring their own libations and nibbles. A couple of days ago neighbors even brought their own glasses!
We don’t ask them to do that. But it’s become a quiet summer ritual.
Sitting, sipping, nibbling, enjoying late afternoon sea breezes and the company of friends … every day it makes me thankful that I’m lucky enough to live and work on the coast of Maine. The gift shops and boat rides will wait.