Friday, July 5, 2013

The Way Life Should Be, or, How to Think Like a Mainer


If you've ever driven into Maine, my home state, you know the sign: Welcome to Maine: The Way Life Should Be.  Mainers (pronounced Mainahs) take this slogan very much to heart.  It's true that our state is unique.  Time and space are different here.  Where else can you go upta camp (If you click on this link, audio about camp starts at 3:50) and downda wharf all in the same afternoon?     


If you're from away, I'll tell you that in order to travel up the coast in Maine, you've gotta go Down East.  And if you don't know where Down East is, then I'm sorry, but you can't get there from here.


Mainers are proud of many things about our state: our wild forests, our rocky coastline, our blueberries (the wild, low-bush ones), our potatoes, our lobstahs. I have the distinction of being the only person I know from Maine who doesn't like lobster.  I mean, I'll eat it, but give me a basket of fried clams or a bucket of mussels steamed in white wine and garlic, and I'm a happy camper (especially if I'm upta camp).


Mr. Magpie and I live in southern coastal Maine, which is wicked good, but we love the whole friggin' state.  I shot these photos last weekend when we were visiting friends on Mount Desert Island, which isn't a desert at all, and which most Mainers I know pronounce Mount Dessert (a lot of us are of French origins, so we tend to pronounce things kinda funny up here).


But thinking like a Mainer has less to do with how we talk, and more to do with this place itself.  


It gets under your skin.  I've lived in many states over the past couple of decades, and I've loved so much about each one of them, but I always longed to come back to Maine.  Life is a little slower up here in the most Northeastern state.  Even in the age of the interwebs, it's easy to unplug and unwind here.  I know when a patch of wild blueberries is near just by the scent of lichen-covered rocks baking in the sun in a clearing in the woods.  

And then there's the fog.  Sit by the ocean on a driftwood log and let it roll in.  If there's a foghorn in the distance, all the better.  It doesn't matter if you're from here or from away.  Pick up a sea-polished stone, breathe in.  Salt and pine and beach rose.  You can barely see beyond the end of your nose, but you can hear the waves and the sand is cool beneath your toes.  This is home.

21 comments:

  1. What a beautiful state you live in,I knew nothing of what it was like - thank you for showing me your photos which are beautiful.

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    1. Thank you so much for your lovely comment, Cait. It is a beautiful state, indeed.

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  2. Smiling! Now I know the difference between Portland, Maine and Portland, Oregon. We don't have that rolling fog with the sounds of the fog horn and waves. We don't have the language you speak in Maine. What we both have is the beauty of the trees. Love your photos and your words that create pictures.

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    1. Oh, thank you, sweet Marilyn! I so hope to visit your beautiful Portland in the not-too-distant future!

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  3. Wow! I was right there and saw the beauty, but those photos knock me out! You are amazing, Gigi. And I love the details about your great state.

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    1. Thank you, my wonderful friend. It was such a rare treat to get to visit you all up in your magical world. We loved every minute and hope we get to do it again! xo

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  4. If I didn't live in RI I would definitely live in Maine and we are lucky enough to have a chance to stay there for one or two weeks each year. These photos said Mt Desert to me even before I read that was where you were!

    Even though I love RI I will be the first to admit that Maine lobsters and clams are tastier than RI's...we just don't know why but it is true~

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    1. I have to say that having lived in Rhode Island, I love your state, too, Gail! When Todd and I decided to leave Eastern Massachusetts, we were torn between moving back to Rhode Island and moving back to Maine. Both had the ocean and both allowed Todd to commute back to work in MA a few days a week, but Maine had family, so Maine won. I do love RI clams, but I think Maine lobsters are probably the best anywhere! ;)

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  5. I love your images, Gigi! Got here from Pinterest and because I'm a Mainah too. I'm up (or is it down? :-)) in the midcoast area. It is a wonderful place to live though it's certainly not the easiest at times. But well worth it. Keep pinning and I'll be back here to see more of your work. Laurie

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    1. Oh, it's great to see you here, Laurie! Thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment. I love your pins! Somehow I didn't realize you were a Mainah, too! I'm originally from Bath, so I know the Midcoast region well. Do you have a blog? I'm going to go look for it right now!

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  6. I love Maine too. I have only been there once when my family rented a beautiful house outside Falmouth for my 60th birthday. I loved the misty woods, the lighthouses, picking wild blueberries, and every night we had lobster, apart from one when we bought some delicious salmon from a roadside truck. The fish was fresh from Nova Scotia we were told. That was the day we went to Mount Desert Island, and although a part of the day was marred by a horrible road accident which closed the road for a while, it enabled us to stop and take a hike until the road reopened and we made it to the coast. It was a day of accidents as while we were buying some things at a grocery, someone had tied a dog to a cigarette disposal stand, and it was startled and took off running across the road through the traffic, luckily slow moving, and then into the store to find its owner, all the time scattering cigarette butts and sand in its wake. Then it raced out of the shop but was stopped by my heroic daughter. At the time it was frightening because the dog was so scared and could have been killed, but looking back it made us all laugh at the snooty owner who never thanked us but kept tight lipped while she took her dog. I guess she was so humiliated! It is a truly beautiful and relaxed state, and one I wish to return too - maybe for my 65th birthday? You are lucky to live there.

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    1. Oh, Lynn, I love your story about the runaway dog and its snooty owner! I'm glad he was safe, and kudos to your daughter for saving him. I can't think of a better place to celebrate a birthday than coastal Maine. We celebrated my mother's 70th with a lobster bake on the ocean followed by late-night games of Boggle in the cottage where we were staying. So many of my favorite memories involve salt on my skin and sand in my shoes!

      Thanks for the lovely comment. xo

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  7. Oh Gigi! You almost made me cry! The first time I ever went Down East and spent two glorious weeks on Mt. Desert Island - when it came time to leave I actually did cry! Every time I visit I always leave a part of my heart behind! Maine takes my breath away like nowhere else I've ever been and even though I've yet to travel abroad I doubt there is anywhere that can compete with my love for Maine! Thanks so much for the foggy photos, which are so very much a reminder to me of time spent in Bah Hahbah (Bar Harbor of course):D
    Hugs,
    Beth P

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    1. I'm so glad you enjoyed the post, Beth! Even though I grew up here, this place still takes my breath away, too, so I understand. A lot of folks say it's the quality of the light that makes it so beautiful. I think that's part of it, but I also love that there are still so many wild places. We have walking trails even here in Portland, the "big city," that make you feel like you're miles away from everything. That is heaven to me.

      xo

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  8. Oh you make me so homesick? Born in Portland and summered on Long Island
    until my 20's; there is nothing like Maine.
    Diana M

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    1. I understand completely, Diana, having lived away from Maine for 20 years. It was really, really good to come back.

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  9. From enjoying all of your fabulous photos, Maine looks like a stunningly beautiful place to call home. I would love to visit your gorgeous state someday! I hope you are doing well, sweet Gigi! xxoo

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    1. Oh, Cathi, I know you would love it. xo

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  10. i've never been to maine, but i know no one who has who didn't fall in love with it. (excuse all the negatives in that sentence - lol!) i have friends who flew from texas to maine to be married, though she had never been - she trusted he enough to believe him when he said it was magic.

    i've been gone too long - i'm so glad you're still here.

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  11. She had a trusting heart! What a good way to begin a marriage.

    So happy to see you here, my friend.

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  12. You make me long to make it my home. I yearn, often, for a home by the sea. I loved these glimpses. Hello, friend. I've missed you.

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