I don’t know if you noticed, but I’ve been out of town for the past two weeks.
I’ve been in Maine, where it looks to have averaged about 30 degrees cooler than Nashville. I can hardly express the astonishment of exiting Gate 26 at the Nashville airport on Saturday and schlepping to the taxi line through what can only be described as a Sou’easter: a perfect storm of heat, humidity, wildfire smoke, and a sea of vaguely masked travelers newly arrived in town for a Garth Brooks stadium concert and partying that began right there on Concourse C.
I scanned the Departures screen for the next flight to Anywhere.
My aim for this trip was to try really hard to be On Vacation, to attempt some not-modern, not-daily not-knitting. I turned off Slack. I hid the Gmail icon. I even contemplated stand-up paddleboarding. We did so many things during our sojourn that were fun and memorable and distracting, but I’m not going to lie: I thought about MDK every single day, sometimes for a few minutes, sometimes for the duration of a ramble to Hadlock Pond, sometimes at 5:30 in the morning when a foghorn blasted directly outside our bedroom window. GOOD GOD WHAT WAS THAT? was followed by I wonder if the new yarn has landed yet.
I stared at water a lot. It’s a novelty to us landlocked Tennesseans. The cove across the sound from our rental was apparently a favorite of sailing folk. It backs up to Acadia National Park, so most nights I could see the mast lights of one or two sailboats over there, tiny stars against the pure black of the park. Everybody has their own idea of getting away. To me, getting from Nashville to the coast of Maine was a herculean accomplishment. Adding “Locate, Provision, Operate, And Not Sink A Sailboat” to a vacation list of to dos? Hats off to the dozens of boaters who paraded by. You really know how to fill a day, you boat people.
The boats most fascinating to me were the lobster boats. Dozens of buoys dotted the water, and every morning, a deep-throated grumble woke me as the boats moved, slowing to winch up a trap, then accelerating to the next one. A few years ago, a writer described his incessant scrolling among his social media accounts as “checking my traps.” As I watched these puttering boats, and found myself checking my own traps on my phone, I thought about these people pulling their living from the sea as I pull mine from the air.
By accident, I read a lot of E. B. White’s essays. I found the book stuck sideways on a shelf filled with Time-Life series and ten bound volumes of Life magazine dating from the early 1940s. The book had been left in the rain, in 1978 or last month, who knows? White famously lived part of his life near Brooklin, Maine, about an hour from where we stayed. It was tempting to drive over to Allen Cove, having just read his essays about his life there, but I decided it was best to let the guy rest in peace.
I’m typing this with Kermit draped over my left wrist. I wish he spoke English, so we could talk about how sometimes people disappear, then come back.
Up top are postcards from our trip. As much as I tried to escape thinking about MDK for a bit, I actually loved thinking about MDK from a distance. MDK is my favorite thing, so much so that when I wandered into (the truly) Heavenly Yarns in Belfast, Maine, and saw Field Guide No. 17: Lopi on the counter, I grabbed one and flapped it with joy at the woman at the counter.
“This is me!” I squawked.
“I know,” she replied, laughing. “You’re on vacation now, right?”
PS A last-minute addition to my vacation crafts scheme ended up swamping all other projects: a skirt from Alabama Chanin. You can see it up top. It was a fine palate cleanser.
PSS Places shown above include: Acadia National Park, Long Pond Preserve, Thuya Garden and Lodge, Beal’s Lobster Pound, Northeast Harbor, Sand Beach (David and Clif’s Americana album cover, one in an endless series), and two Stellar Dendrite hats by Fatimah Hinds (no. 3 is on the needles).
PSSS My water bottle holder served me well. I know you were wondering.