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Friday, 15 July 2011


By Brenton "Sandy" Dickson

(A bright sunny summer day in Maine doesn’t always stay that way.)

I sip my freshly brewed espresso on our deck overlooking Sheepscot Bay, breathing in the aroma of sun-drenched dewy spruces and damp mosses and pine needles.

Near me dozens of yellow goldfinches compete for the perches on two thistle seed feeders, while noisy squirrels look on enviously, plotting ways to enlarge the narrow slitted openings. To my right, a pair of humming birds sip sugared water from a hanging red plastic container.

Atop a nearby spruce tree sprig, the high noted trill of a lonely junco in search of a mate, competes with the noisy “per-chick-oree’s” of the busy finches.

I look out over little Turnip Island nestled peacefully on our side of the bay. A large black and white osprey circles over a partially denuded pine near the center with a struggling mackerel in his beak. Below, his nested mate dutifully ensconced on the eggs of her future offspring, eagerly awaits her share of the morning catch.

The revving motors from two lobster boats seem just a natural part of the environment. Their operators pull and set their traps systematically in a pattern logical only to them. One appears to be wrestling with tangled gear. The wake from their craft disturbs the occasional white caps breaking on the small waves created by the outgoing tide.

Across the bay, one side of the white angular Hendrick’s Head Lighthouse gleams in the morning sun. A blast comes from its horn. Probably a routine test by the light keeper. Or is it?

The air seems heavier. Wispy white puffs begin to cover the water’s surface as they drift up from the open ocean. Eerie distant lands rise above the low forming cloud. It’s moving and its ever-changing shapes would ignite the imagination of any curious child.

Carl Sandberg once wrote:

The fog comes
on little cat feet.

It sits looking
over harbor and city
on silent haunches
and then moves on.

Like the royal carpet being unrolled down the center aisle of Westminster Abbey, the bank crawls slowly north. Only the very tops of firs, homes, and the lighthouse remain, all silhouetted against the still-blue sky.


I turn around in search of the source of the smell of freshly buttered toast. “Bunny,” our house guest, stands watching over my shoulder, breakfast tray in hand, saying, “It’ll soon be thick-a-dungeon.”

“Thick-a-dungeon?” I ask.

“That’s what Dad always called it when he sailed down the Maine Coast.”

As the fog shuts in, everything vanishes, even the birds and their feeders. We are imprisoned in a dank cavern of nothingness.

We begin to rethink our plans for the day. Our boat trip up-river to Wiscassett will have to wait until tomorrow.

Luckily the jigsaw puzzle in the living room is less than half done.


[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Instructions for submitting are here.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post


How beautiful..I miss Maine, used to go at least once a year to friend's home in Augusta..years ago an old husband of mine & our 3 little kids used to camp all over, esp New England..he was a Vermonter, so knew all these nifty campgrounds with our little VW bus..my kids are now 47, 46 and 45 and they still can remember all those trips..nature sure is the great healer, even from afar and from memories..thanks, you describe like a poet...

I once, 25 years ago visited Camden during non-tourist season. I loved it, the lobster boats setting out their traps, the huge variety of birds and all, but I somehow missed the traffic, noisy morning garbage trucks, the squalling police and fire sirens. Guess I'm just a city folk, but love the sound of your country-style lift also. Entertain us more often with such beautifully described glimpses of it all.

We were once at Portland Head Light and the fog rolled in like that and the horn began to blow.

It was the loneliest sound I have ever heard.

Weren't you lucky that you had your house guest and the rest of your family to keep you company in that fog?

I loved your description of Sheepscot Bay, the birds, the lobstermen and the trees.

Wonderful writing.

Absolutely beautiful writing.

Thanks for your generous ego-boosting flattery!

Mary - nature in the country is a great healer. We can totally relax without feeling guilty.
Johna - I find the noises of the city useful too. They are like experiencing wild winter weather, just before the breakout of a warm peaceful Spring!
Nancy - I remember the crashing waves on the rocks below Portland Head Light. It would have been eerie if it also had been foggy.
Marcia - You are way too kind.

Your first photo is just stunning--I love mist and fog, but one usually has to get up early to capture them in pictures--ah, well! Lovely poetic descriptions, too.

Amazing shot of the fog, nice detail.

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