By the time my daughter ran into the house tonight, trailing one of her brothers through a wall of flies the recent rain has seemed to revive, she was the same kind of sight she usually is these days. Raspberries smeared over a layer of sunblock, over a layer of sand, over a thorough layer of what I now know is unwashable pink marker. Her loosening blonde pigtails were matted to her head and memories of the afternoons ice cream were all over her shirt (and me). The shirt, pink at 9 a.m., now a sort of brown-themed tie dye.
We woke late enough this morning for it to feel like vacation, but early enough to let the day unfold. My oldest, Colby, came over for coffee and leftover cherry pie and a long visit. We sat outside in plastic Adirondack chairs while P zipped around and on top of us – washing dishes in her pretend kitchen, filling the driveway with chalk circles, throwing rocks because she felt like it – the fat canopy of a maple shading us. We walked around the property and lost track of time and when he left I remembered how hard, how often, it is to have him out of the house. Sigh. In the same way I cannot get enough of listening to him right now, and what he thinks about this gorgeous, dumpster-fire world and everything that lies directly in front of him. I love that he is out and I’m so proud of the life he is making for himself. Almost daily I hear these line from Ani DiFranco’s “Landing Gear” and I laugh because it is exactly as demanding as I can be, but my god: “you’re gonna love this world/if it’s the last thing I do”. If it’s not that, it’s a Maggie Smith poem.
We spent the rest of our day playing in an idlyllic Maine lake. It was warm and just breezy enough and I spent most of the day parked in the sand and talking with my brother and sister-in-law and gazing at my favorite little mountain while our girls played, tantrumed, and played some more. I was pulling Princess P and the wagon out of the changing room when my brother passed us. “Hey!” I yelled “Call me if you come to Bangor. I’ll pull the beet greens for you”. If all of my Julys are made up of this exact conversation on these exact kind of days, there will still never be enough.
After a quick stop for some local ice cream (I know, I know) we went home to meet P’s other brothers, my Bonus Boys, the youngest whom she loves more than mac n’ cheese. She loves all her boys but this guy has her whole heart. And we spent the rest of the evening fixing the garden, watching her run while we parked our butts back in the chairs, and fighting blackflies to get to the last day of viable raspberries.
This was all within an hour of my house! Sometimes I feel like I need to get out for the sake of getting out, for perspective, but I just cannot give Maine in July up. Not one second of it. I’m watching people’s Instagram stories and seeing them experience Maine for the first time and all I can feel is the most sparkling joy that even one more person gets some of this. I messaged one and told her about the Bar Island hike, and also Miss Rumphius, without one ounce of irony.
I hope this gorgeous evening finds you, too, overly sentimental and berry bursting with love for a place and its people. xo.