I love Maine in summertime. I've only been a handful of times but I fell in the love the first time I went last year. There's this energy of Maine that is so intriguing to me - it's secretive and undiscovered nature. The towns are so quiet, the houses are so old, the summer season is so short, the roads are two-lanes and so windy. You can't go anywhere fast - even with no traffic. No one minds, they just drive slower or boat there or walk there or bike there or canoe there - everyone is exploring. I wonder if it's because the summer is so short or just the type of people that call Maine home but everyone is out - connecting to the land of Maine.
I went to a new place this year - a small town named Richmond, just north of Portland. We took a right off the highway and drove for a longtime on a two-laned road I was wondering if this is the right way then a few houses with big lots started to appear and then one gas station with a fried chicken fast food and Dunkin Donuts in it, this must be it. It's funny in these rural town how the gas stations can be all-in-one town centers. We drove a little more and there it appeared, the adorable downtown of Richmond. It's just about two blocks long right on the railroad tracks with a bakery, post office, library, ice cream shop and restaurant. Most of the buildings are from the 1800s, I always wonder how these little towns keep running? What's it like in winter? Life is slow here and I don't image much changes. Maine seems to give me so many questions. The end of downtown stops right at the banks of the Kennebec river and the boat loading dock. Our camp site was on Swan Island so we had to canoe over since the ferry (small boat) stopped running at 3pm that day. It was dusk and the mosquitos were coming out in hordes. We eased into the murky river and paddled against the current. We paddled across the river to hang close to the edge of Swan island right along the edge of the swaying freshwater grass.
The Kennebec river is fascinating with the current getting pulled and pushed by the ocean's tide, the water levels can change by several feet during the day and makes for an interesting plant life, it looks almost marsh-like in places with the entire Swan Island bordered by freshwater grasses.
It was dark at this point and I was wondered as we were curving around the east side of the island if we would be able to see the boat dock for the campsite. With the darkness and current it took us about 45 mins but we found it. The night sky was so dark and no one was in the camping area except for us, we were greeted by that deep deep silence of Maine. There is such healing/peaceful powers in that deep deep silence. We slept under the bright blanket of stars and woke up to the hot summer sun. I haven't felt the rhythms of the life without buildings - highways - lights for so long - it felt so good.
Swan Island was inhabited several times between the 1700s-late 1800s until the land was ultimately bought by the State of Maine in the early 1900s so it has many houses on it still from the different owners and settlements. We read the histories of the people that once lived on Swan Island - the first family of settlers that were captured by the Abenaki Indians and sold as slaves across the border in Canada. The next wave logging the land leading wide open meadows on the island. Another wave of settlers serving off of selling ice from the Kennebec River until refrigeration became a household things. With not many resources people didn't stay long on the Island but their houses are still there today as a reminder of their stories.
We hiked and canoed and even swan in the murky dark waters of the Kennebec - SUMMER. I hope you are exploring your lands and reading histories and seeking dark night skies and feeling that deep deep silence.