By Tom Lamia
In Maine, summers can be short when you are least expecting them to be; yet they are glorious even so. The glory I speak of is the bliss that comes with knowing that a moment long-awaited has arrived. It would be tempting fate to go about crowing of how a particular summer will last, how it might continue from month to month at the salubrious level at which it arrived. No one here in Maine does that. All take comfort in the sunshine, cool breezes, lack of intolerable levels of mosquitos and rain only as needed for grass to grow and flowers to bloom. That’s it. To expect more would be to expect history to change course.
This is a summer that qualifies for the above description. It may be too early to say that this summer will be short, but it does seem a hedge on what can even now be said: there has been everything in good weather and good feelings among tourists, vacationers and the Mainers that host them that a perfect world should offer. The tourists are spending money in hot pursuit of Maine’s best products: LL Bean, lobster rolls, sightseeing excursions to coastal islands to see the rare puffin (Eastern Egg Rock between Pemaquid Point and Monhegan Island) or the disappearing small communities of fishermen and other hardies who choose to live away from roads, stores, internet connections, land lines and neighbors. For the taciturn and often pessimistic Mainer, this summer is likely to be short simply because it is particularly glorious.
Some of us who live here have no time for these and the many other challenging, exciting things around us that are physically and mentally good for us as well as for our state. There is too much to do. Guests will arrive, because we have invited them and because they know they will experience something different among their many choices for getting away from their permanent places of work, school and residence.
Guests must be made welcome and comfortable. Plans must be made that will fill every day with the things that we know (or hope) will fill them with wonder and good memories. All this takes time. A good portion of that time is spent expanding facilities used for nine or ten months of the year by one, two, or a few more individuals (children, close relatives) to serve multiples of that number. And, there can be no rest to receive the good feeling that comes with being a good host to good friends and close family. You want them to be happy with their choice to live in your immediate space for a few weeks, so you work at making them feel welcome.
When all is ready and the wild rumpus begins, all is good, because the effort made it so. Then the visit is over, but not the season. No, the season is not over until Labor Day, the day when all visitors must be back in their assigned lives of work, study, and responsibility. So, no time to relax, another wave is, generally, just a few days away.
The many benefits of this Atlantic Paradise are not solely limited to summer, but their appeal seems concentrated in those few months.
Once Labor Day is torn from the calendar, the clean-up, maintenance, and restocking begins, as needed to prepare for the long, severe winter that very likely will follow this short, blissful summer.
So, mark your calendar for a Maine visit sometime between June 15 and Labor Day next year. I will be here, but I will be busy making Paradise habitable.