Can it really be that time of year again?? It seems like it was only yesterday when we packed up and left Sabbathday Lake last October after several delightful months at the lake cottage. And now we are here again (for two weeks already) and enjoying our little piece of heaven despite a few scorcher days with high humidity. The weather has returned to more reasonable temperatures and I have even had small fires in the woodstove when I have been up writing in the hours around dawn.
What can be more inspiring than sitting at my table and staring out at the placid lake? Steam rising and drifting across to the far shoreline, the western skies turning pink as the sun rises above the ridge line running behind our cottage (they call them "camps" in Maine regardless of their size and decor). There is the welcoming thump from the coffee pot as the morning coffee begins to perk and the cottage fills with pleasant morning aromas. Coffee and breakfast cooking on the stove. I put the writing aside for a bit and eat in the company of a good book.
I stand on the deck overlooking Sabbathday Lake as the day begins to take shape. Its surface only slightly disturbed by a gentling breeze as the flags fluff and flap. A blue heron glides low across the lake and lands in the alders that border a nearby cove. On the far shore a convocation of bald eagles has taken up residence in a tall pine. If I am lucky, I’ll see one or two of them hovering over the lake before swooping down to capture a fish in their talons and returning to the nest to feed the youngsters who are growing day by the day. And who can forget the family of loons that returns annually? They are frequently seen cruising the lake, occasionally diving only to surface far from where they submerged.
Throughout the day the shadows shift as the sun makes its journey to the western horizon. I find rest and respite on the deck under a large umbrella, or in the cottage’s shadow to continue reading, or to work on a watercolor, if the urge to paint strikes me. And there is the overstuffed chair in the sitting room where I occasionally park myself for a short afternoon nap as I enjoy the breezes blowing in off the lake.
Besides the quiet early morning hours I most enjoy the two hours on either side of sunset as the day begins to cool down and the breezes subside. There are the mournful distant cries of the loons as the evening shadows lengthen across the lake as the sun sets below the far forested shore. The powder blue sky is etched by the pinkish contrails of jets headed to and from Europe. Just three years ago I was in one of them on my way to Frankfurt and I was able to look down on our lake and the surrounding country before heading out across the Gulf of Maine and the North Atlantic darkness.
With the onset of night I light the citronella torch and the bug punk. With the last vestiges of daylight, and with very little ambient light, the stars begin to come out. First just a few, then familiar constellations appear. Soon the sky is drenched in stars and on clear nights the Milky Way is there. If I stare up long enough I can usually catch a glimpse of a passing satellite . . . or even the International Space Station. Later, in August, we are treated to the Perseid meteor showers. Always a treat. If the conditions are just right, and if one is patient, the northern lights glimmer above. Reason enough to come to Maine in the summer.
Finally retreating inside, it is time to settle down with a good book, or perhaps write some letters while wondering what the next day will bring. Another day like the one just ending? Or perhaps it will be a day for exploring . . . . up into the foothills of the White Mountains, or even into the Presidential Range, in New Hampshire. Or over to Midcoast Maine and its rocky shoreline. Perhaps a lobster or two and some fresh steamers at a favorite lobster pound. So much to do and so little time to do it.
Maine . . . The Way Life Should Be! Amen to that!!
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