Friday, August 12, 2016

The unreality of vacation

One of the places I enjoyed taking a vacation best was the extreme eastern edge of Maine, bordering Canada, in a town called Lubec. There, the tides rose 25 to 30 feet, all in the space of 6 hours. The rushing waters, the granite edged seacoast, the ever-present fog bank, and the remoteness, all captivated me. For some reason, the blues of the ocean seemed bluer, the green of the pine trees seemed greener, the tang of the salt air seemed tangier. Or was just that my imagination, as holiday fantasy took hold and the real world receded, even for just a week?

On the nearby island of Campobello, which is actually across the channel in New Brunswick Canada, there is a lighthouse one can visit...if only at low tide. As the tide rushes out to play among the whales in the deeper ocean, it leaves behind a temporarily exposed spit of sand attached to the lighthouse island. If you dare climb down the granite cliff on a nearly vertical rusty ladder, you can walk over the spit of sand and inhabit the lighthouse, imagining keepers and storms and swells and another era. However, if you linger there too long, you will be stuck. As the cold Atlantic tide returns, fresh from its swirl among the whales, it will fill in and cover the spit with a speed that will at first astound you and then claim you, if you are unwise. See the sign?

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On summer days such as those, with clear blue sky and old cannery brightly adorning the wharf, you never imagine a harsher time. One of unforgiving Maine winters, Atlantic spray, fog, ships blindly creeping in among jagged rocks desperate for harbor. On vacation, I only see the blue skies, calm waters, and town charm. Vacation has done its job, presenting another reality, if only for a week.

7 comments:

Grace to You said...

It was one of my favorite vacation places too! We stayed at the old Coast Guard station in Lubec and prayed for clear skies so we could be the first ones to see the sunrise in the US. :) I also got one of my all-time favorite souvenirs there too - a clock that marks the passing of every hour with the soulful sound of a loon's wail. I love hearing them still, even though we are far away from that most beautiful state.

Elizabeth Prata said...

WOW! I didn't know you could stay in the CG station! That must have been great. One year I rented a cottage on a hill in a field with the bedroom window facing due east. Clear view. The sun came up at 3:47 am! I loved it.

Grace to You said...

The CG station was pretty fun...there was a cupola that we went into each morning to look for the sunrise but it was always too foggy. :)

Did you cross the bay on Campobello to get to the lighthouse? We got there at low tide but it was too late to try to cross...after looking at the rusty stairs I wasn't too terribly disappointed. haha

Elizabeth Prata said...

I didn't know about that particular quirk and got tot he lighthouse ad mid tide and rising. I hung out by the stairs and took lots of pics of the lighthouse, but did not cross the sand spit, and I never got back at the right time for the tide. It's been fun, sailing and traveling the eastern seaboard from Campobello to Key West and over to the Bahamas, seeing every single lighthouse! I love lighthouses.

Grace to You said...

Wow - you really saw every single lighthouse on the East coast?? That's an amazing accomplishment! Did you get pictures of them all?

I thought the North Carolina lighthouses were beautiful, until I saw the ones in Maine...I think Owl's Head Light is my favorite of all the ones we saw there. It's small, but the setting is perfection. There is nothing in the world more exquisite to me than a pine tree forest at the edge of the ocean!

Elizabeth Prata said...

I think so. We went down the Intracoastal waterway, at a speed of 3 mph, seeing, passing, and actually using most of the lighthouses along the way. There might be one we missed in the fog or was further inland, like for example, we went down the Chesapeake and saw the lights there but missed the ones on the outer edge along the DelMarVa Peninsula. But we literally crawled down every inch of the seacoast and saw most of them. I took photos of a lot but those were the days pre-digital cameras and was concerned over having film and the cost to develop.

I have pics of Lubec, Campobello, Cape Elizabeth ME, Block Island, FT. Lauderdale, Pompano, Hatteras, Hopetown Bahamas

Kelli Gray said...

Wow! That would be a neat vacation. As I live and was raised on an island in Alaska I know the simple beauty of pine forests and the sea on the West coast. Would be neat to see it on the east as well.