AUGUST IN MAINE — fewer words stir my heart, soul or imagination. Fewer words make me happier or more content, especially on a morning and evening like Wednesday.
The morning started when I met a friend for coffee at her beach club. Hardly a soul was walking the big beach as we plopped into wooden chairs, rested our legs on the porch railing and looked out at the gently ebbing tide.
As women have done since Eve first chatted up her BFF, we purged. Golf scores, hip aches, latest reads, spouse’s health, summer company, waistlines — nothing was left on the table. We women need and love to do that.
And the setting? A soft breeze, a swooping gull, the sparkling sea and the joy of breathing it all in — that’s an August morning in Maine.
My day ended with a beach picnic at sunset. Earlier in the week, I’d checked the tide chart and weather forecast; it looked propitious. A few emails divvied up food assignments for our group of 22. We gathered at dusk toting lobster rolls, guacamole, sausage bites, potato chips, and a mango salad. Dessert was Klondike bars. Everybody BYOB-ed.
Nothing fancy, hardly elaborate, but when consumed on a beach with the sun setting over the rocks as we inhaled the salty air, that picnic supper was tastier than a Five Star restaurant’s plat du jour.
August in Maine is the best and busiest of times. The ocean temperature finally warms up to the mid-60s. (Seriously!) Farm stands feature native blueberries, corn and plump tomatoes. Bumblebees flit between the white phlox and purple hollyhocks in my garden. My zucchini patch is on steroids. I have more zucchini than I have recipes for and my pals are zucchini-ed out. But as Mr. Wonderful says, it’s all great.
I’ve tried to figure out how August in Maine differs from August along the Jersey or Connecticut shore. Why do I feel it’s so special here at Lat. 43?
Maybe because our summers are short. Already when I’m driving along Route 9, I can spot red leaves on the swamp maples. Some of the fairways on the golf course are burned to a brown crisp. The sun is rising later and setting earlier each day. The lawn has lost its glossy luster.
August in Maine is precious. Probably because we know what’s coming.
(Special thanks to Linda Loewenberg and Susan Thigpen Carlson for their photos.)