Down East 2013 ©
And so Summer begins…
June 21, 2011
The Summer Solstice
This, our fifth summer on Crawford Pond, began with the hand of God painting a watercolor sky that reflected even more clearly on the looking glass surface before me.
Nearly running down the stairs and out the door, camera in hand, I turned the corner from the back side of the house and slowed to approach the water’s edge. A swirl formed a few feet from shore as some unseen yet vividly imagined great bass captured a morning meal.
The day was coming alive as it surely does each day, yet somehow this one was special.
This was the first day of summer. The longest day of the year. From this point forward each day will shorten just a bit, as the Earth makes its’ journey around the sun, and so it seems important to record it and maybe, in some way, hold on to it in my memory.
This summer in Maine is different than those that we have already treasured, as before, we came North to enjoy the fruit of this Eden and then go South again at summer’s end. This year, we made the decision to come earlier, in May, and live here not only thru the idyll days of summer, but also to prepare and stay thru the four seasons, immersing ourselves all that each season will bring.
In the spirit of that immersion in our first full year in Maine, I stepped into the cool waters of this Solstice morning and swam to the island that greets us from our bedroom window each day. How refreshing this water is. Not the breath catching shock and limb numbing cold of this same water a month ago. Yet still, it does not fail to instantly assure me, that I am very much alive. Diving forward and swimming as far as one breath will take me, I open my eyes and marvel in the green light that filters beneath the surface. There is a wonderful quiet while swimming deeper under water. No splash, no breathing, no sounds of man or beast, just the barely perceivable rush of the water. Then, breaking back into the rose colored light of morning, the sound also returns. First, is the long deep inhalation of cool morning air, and next, the rhythmic splash of arms and hands drawing the island shore ever closer. In some way, I sense that I am intruding on the peace and quiet, and so I shift into stroke that keeps my limbs beneath the surface. I can hear my breathing now, but feel content that is will not disturb. Rolling over, I float motionless for a moment and look at the clouds above, now white and grey surrounded by blue. It is at this very moment that I begin to feel compelled to write, not know yet if it will be simple narrative or a poem, but certain that words will come when I return to shore.
As I make my way to the dock and reach for a towel to dry and begin to warm my skin, I look up to see a vision that brings joy to my heart. Marion is approaching with hot coffee and warm homemade bread. Wrapping the towel over my shoulders like a shawl, I sit beside her on the glider and sip that steaming cup. We talk of the day to come. Each of us with plans for this early morning. She will paddle her kayak to her favorite cove, behind the big island. I will ponder this first summer morning and write.