We made it to Maine, and even though this is the place I've visited nearly every summer since early childhood, the past five days have revealed so much newness to me...which makes me wonder how much a place actually changes over time versus how much a person's perception of a place changes over time.
Were my quaint feelings about this place particular to childhood, to that smaller Helen who believed this place to be as unchangeable as my parents' faces or my kindergarten classroom or that Sesame Street episode that showed how crayons were made?
Maybe it's that the 1980s and 90s were really different, not just here (or maybe just here?), but everywhere else, too. Maybe that feeling of quaintness is the result of being in the right place at the right time. And being the right age to catch it all.
I don't know if that makes any kind of sense. But it's where my head's at today.
We discovered a candlepin bowling alley on a side street (where was it all those years when I was a kid?) and bowled two games. No matter that three of us were in sandals; Bowling Bowl sold Hanes socks for $1.50 a pair. I don't want to forget how amused I was when a blue poster reading ADVERTISE HERE ADVERTISE HERE came down on one of the sweep bars in a neighboring lane. My sister-in-law wondered aloud who would actually advertise there. "Maybe a local babysitter?" she guessed. I love that idea and want desperately for a local babysitter to advertise there.
My dad took the lot of us squidding one night. I stood still on a slimy dock and gripped a fishing pole, wiggling it occasionally to make my iridescent lure dance in the water. Fleshy tubes darted beneath the surface, eyes glowing with bioluminescence. I didn't catch one, but that was hardly the point.
Having never camped in my life, I checked off another 'first' on Saturday night when Dana and I set up a tent in my parents' backyard and slept with the ocean in earshot. I loved it. Loved it. Confrontational seagulls woke us up just before the tent started to bake in the morning sun. It was a perfect first camping experience.
Finally, I don't remember the sunsets here being quite so outstanding in my childhood, but it's possible I just never looked. (For shame, really.) I posted the different stages of one particular sunset on Instagram, but the images hardly capture the real-life magic (and thank god for that, otherwise what's the point of experiencing anything firsthand).
Hit 'reply' and tell me what surprised you this summer. Or, what was cozily predictable and wonderfully quaint.
Notes from the week of August 14
+ crab is delicious
+ how spot-on the Zen at Play newsletter is every week
+ white wine
+ sun-dried tomato pesto
+ fresh cream gelato
READ & NODDED MY HEAD
+ jigsaw puzzling
+ candlepin bowling
+ camping in a tent in my parents' backyard
+ a dog named Stella
+ a tiny person named Jackson
+ Mom, Dad, Dave, & Sarah Jo
+ Becky, Patrick, Amelia, & Isadora