Last week we returned from a successful trip to Italy visiting friends and colleagues in Reggio Emilia and facilitating a retreat in Mercatello sul Metauro with Angela Ferrario. Then we headed straight to Maine. First to a family reunion of Cadwells...all of Ashley's brothers and most of the spouses and children... about 22 of us. Ashley grew up going to Boothbay Harbor where his uncle, John Andrews had a cottage right on the water. The cottage is still there with several smaller guest cottages and that is where we landed...with beautiful weather, kayaking, biking, hiking, and even swimming in the Maine waters. Then, we joined son Chris and our daughter-in-law Leila on a trip further up the coast to Southwest Harbor where we used to go with my parents when Chris and his brother Alden were little. This trip, we were lucky to be able to bike the carriage roads of Acadia National Park, and to hike majestic Pemetic Peak overlooking Jordon Pond and Frenchman Bay. After the hike we enjoyed the famous popovers at Jordon Pond House that I remember eating as a little girl when I went there with my mother.
Over the years I have realized that...the craggy Maine coast, the ocean air, the lichened rocks and trees, the fragrance of bay and rugosa rose, the sweet burst of the taste of field blueberries warmed in the sun... these are all in my bones. Because I grew up here during the very early summers of my life when we would leave the oppressive land locked heat of the midwest and head for the northeast and the coast. Far away from the city, far away from schedules, and close to freedom and wide open space. That is what I love so much about returning here. In Maine, I feel that I return to the part of me that is central, most important and free.
Now Ashley and I lucky enough to be on North Haven Island. To get here you take the ferry 12 miles off the coast of Rockland. As I write, I am listening to a red eyed vireo outside the window. Soon we will climb Ames Knob and look out on this most spectacular day at all the surrounding islands and the deep blue Maine sea.
The owners write about this place...We believe that there are places in the world that can change the way we think about things, that allow us to deepen our connection to nature and that remind us how fortunate we are. North Haven is that kind of place. And on the dinner menu there is this quote from Edna St. Vincent Millay...
I will look at cliffs and clouds
With quiet eyes,
Watch the wind bow down the grass,
And the grass rise.
May we all find such places where we feel most ourselves and most free this summer and always.