Sunday, April 4, 2010

Is this a village? I think this is a village.

I've never stopped to wonder, I guess, whether this "town" was just that..a town, a city, a village. When surveys ask you if you live "rural" or "urban", there's no category for life in between. This is the first morning walk that made me wonder just what this adopted "community" we live in is as I sucked in what feels like the first morning air of true Spring and passed daffodils and the hotel maintenance guy sweeping the walkway on my way to the bakery to buy hot cross buns. It's Easter. I don't hear kids screaming for Easter eggs ( it's a village after all, I know they're somewhere) but I suspect parents everywhere have woken as early as they did on Christmas. or maybe Easter Egg hunts are reserved for afternoon romps on hillsides and backyards. So back to the daffodils. A row of them yellow, bright and alert as I walked towards the mix of yeast scents and wood oven aromas from the bakery and restaurant at the corner of Beach and Main. My head went to what village life must be like in France this morning. Provence. Or Tuscany for that matter or any European spot on the map. Flowers. Fresh bread. Sidewalks swept. This is Spring. And this is Maine. I'll look up the guidelines of "village" categorization later.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Yesterday I stepped out into the early morning pre-dawn that was blanketed by a heavy snowfall and inhaled the air. It smelled like watermelon. Why, I have no idea but I am sure an Alton Brown of the meteorologist world could explain it to me. The air was crisp. Bright almost like discovering a new scent but it had tinges of watermelon. I didn't try to figure it out, I just walked in it. Cold air. Intoxicating actually. As was the air this morning at that same hour except this morning the scent was toasted marshmallows, the ones that burn faster than you'd like hanging but still destined for greatness, and cedar planks, that heady scent of fireplace smoke from a nearby chimney.

I think I am beginning to own Maine, having felt like a visitor and not knowing if we were goign to stay. All of this very foreign to my 28 years of Sonorna desert life. The snow is something I missed in Phoenix, driving 3 hours north to romp at the base of the San Francisco peaks in Flagstaff amidst the Aspen. Growing up in Upstate New York and shoveling what looked like Olympic luge runs where the sidewalk was supposed to be prepared me for the snow of Maine. It didn't take me too long to remember how to use a shovel and chip away at ice on a side mirror. But I had forgotten the smell of snow, really the smell of winter air. All those years in the desert I hung on to a memory of a January evening in Santa Fe, under a very clear sky with enough stars to merit a planetarium. I had found a cafe near the Plaza, a cup of hot chocolate laced with cinnamon and a touch of chile if I remember correctly or maybe that was a chocolate chile torte from a close-my-eyes-and-remember-this forever food moment. A topic for another day. But this night in Santa Fe, I remember the air. Pinon. Smoky, burning, fill the nostrils until dizzy, do I have to go back inside, Pinon. And snow.

So I am savoring this Maine winter. It seems less wet, less soaked, less iced than last year, or maybe that mess is coming in February. or maybe, just maybe, I have decided to stay for a while and walk alongside these Mainers and relish the landscape, the austere, the community, the simplicity, the seasons, the winter and the snow of Maine.