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.