It is mid-afternoon when we cross into Kittery, Maine. We drive through Kennebunkport and hug the coastline. I am surprised to notice the land gradually melting into the Atlantic Ocean, always assuming that the entire Maine coast was made up of rocky cliffs. The sun begins to set over glassy pools of water, divided by tall grass, and I reminisce back to the Florida Everglades. Ducks sit in place of alligator snouts, and while I find relief in the cool air and lack of mosquitoes, the swamp-like patches of land feel familiar.
Continuing on, we finally find the Maine coast in which I’d imagined. White water thunders over and around black rock and seagulls caw a chorus in and around houses, which are melded into the cliffs. However, it is too late for me. I have already experienced Maine’s softer side and it has left a grand impression in my mind. It is a Maine where gentle marshland cradles little wooden boats, and shaggy sheep graze in golden fields. It is a Maine that is silent and still.
We continue on Highway One and rest at Rockland Café. Sitting next to the window, I read the specials in reverse. Ladies wearing stained aprons chat at the back table, laughing about their grandchildren and this season’s catch. Alfonso is desperate for some New England flavor, and orders clam chowder off the paper placemat riddled with local advertisements. I look to a wall scattered with cheaply framed drawings and notice a giant lobster wrestling a fishing boat. In that painting, the watercolor sky is an exact replica of the one outside, the only difference being that the restaurant window frames my view. I absorb the simplicity of this moment and resent my tongue for not having a taste for lobster. I bet it’s excellent here.
As our journey continues into Acadia National Park, my impression of this state develops into wild sunsets that bring excitement to every five o’clock hour. A voyage to the top of Cadillac Mountain brings us level with clouds, and despite high winds, they remain full-bodied and opaque.
In Portland, we meet an amazing artist and gallery owner. Her name is Lisa Ferreira, and she owns Ember Grove Gallery. Her art hangs from the ceiling in the form of handmade globes, and the technique has attracted the attention of many, including HGTV. She agrees to display the New Hampshire piece, making Portland the representative for Maine. After leaving the gallery, we walk down to the docks to watch dusk turn to night.
A plethora of restaurants, promising fresh seafood, overwhelm the pier. We wander over to a fleet of parked fishing boats and the poignant smell of the sea overwhelms my senses. Huge trawl nets are wound tightly around spools at the back of each boat and every bow bears the name of a lady. The sun hovers just above the liquid horizon, turning clouds warm with a shade of gold. I watch the sky grow dark and imagine giant nets trawling for clouds.