Thursday, June 16, 2011


These past few days have been full of promises: the promises made to my little nephew, Nolan, at his baptism last Sunday -- hence the photo--and the promises to reunited old friends to "see you soon", and the promise to my children, that "as soon as we get some good weather, we'll go back to the beach for real".

Today, I got to make good on that promise. We went back to that wonderful unspoiled beach, equipped with swimsuits and boogie boards, sand-toys and beach towels, and the one piece of equipment that EVERY child should have:  a youthful, athletic Uncle with a wet suit and a kid-like tolerance for VERY cold ocean water.  It was a marvelous day.  With a Dad who can teach you to spot the mathematical sequence for the increasing strength of waves, an Uncle who is willing to get in the water and show you how to line up the board with the curl of the wave, and a Mom who knows how to whoop and yell "Cowabunga!" as you slide up to the sand on the bubbling foam after the wave breaks, how could a kid NOT have a great day?

And mid-June in Maine is full of the promise of summer itself.  It's not yet high tourist season, so the crowds are not here yet.  But the ice-cream places are open, and the lilacs are in full bloom.  Along the road to the beach, the summer "camps" (cottages) are starting to show signs of life:  a pile of freshly-delivered firewood in a driveway, the winter storm shutters removed, chairs and tables arranged on the screenporches.  Soon, those places with be full of the cheerful disarray of families on vacation: beach towels and swimsuits hung on strings between the trees, the smell of woodsmoke mixing with the sweet fern, pine-needles, and honeysuckle that is carried on the salty breeze.   Meanwhile, we're collecting on another of the promises of summer in New England--the promise that two sunny days in a row here will more than compensate for all the less-inspiring weather we've had lately.  I'm typing this while seated under an awning on the front porch at Mom's house, watching the boats enter the mouth of the Piscataqua River, and listening to a crows' conversation, the redwing blackbirds' answer, the hum of the occasional passing car, and the clink of lemonade glasses in Mom's kitchen.  Rain? What rain?

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