The cottage we rented in Bayside, Maine this June for my big birthday was a really special one, right on the shore of Penobscot Bay. Our week there was heaven.
There was a balcony off the upstairs bedroom. The first night at midnight I stepped out and saw stars all over the sky, something I never see in the city, and the full moon glowing behind some trees to the east. I was stunned and almost overwhelmed at the magnitude of it.
Next morning I woke at 5:00, just in time to go out on the balcony and watch the sun rise up over the horizon. A 180 degree view of the bay was spread before me, glittering in the golden morning sun light. I sat in the complete peace and silence. No one else was around. The only sound was an occasional sea gull’s cry.
At home I never see the sunrise, and if I’m awake at 5:00 a.m., it’s only because I’m suffering insomnia. From that first morning at the cottage, I became so attuned to the cosmic events happening every day over Penobscot Bay that my body woke me up every single morning in time to see the sunrise. In the evenings I watched the glow of sunset up the bay west of Belfast. One night from the balcony I saw the orange disk of the moon rise over the eastern horizon and then a while later the milky path of moonbeams across the water. It was the most calming thing in the world to be connected to the cycles of the sun and moon.
At the cottage I was happy and grateful every morning just to have another day to live in the fresh, pure air under the great big skies of Maine. Every ordinary thing, like just having breakfast, was deeply pleasurable.
Most mornings we had breakfast at the sweet little white painted table on the sun porch, overlooking the bay. Yogurt and fresh Maine strawberries and organic honey oatmeal bread and a pot of tea, served on the pretty pieces of china I brought from home. All the windows of the sun porch open to the fresh air and breezes. Taking our time–no hurry over anything–lingering as long as we wished. I caught myself saying one morning “This is the way life should be,” then immediately remembered that that is Maine’s slogan, which appears on the signs when you enter the state.
Simplifying is the great thing about cottage life. We accumulate and cling to our possessions at home, but then are so relieved to get away from them and reduce life to simpler terms. After breakfast I’d often climb down the steps to our waterside deck and sit reading and writing in the sun and breezes for an hour or two or three. As the tide came in, I’d hear the lap of the tiny waves just below the deck. I’d look up from my book from time to time to see the clouds over the bay. I could sit and watch them all day.
One morning I woke up even earlier than usual, in the pre-dawn of 4:00 or 4:30. The horizon glowed deep pink. I went downstairs and the porch was flooded with the pink gold light. I miss all of this all the rest of the year. I realized it would be worthwhile to sit up on the balcony all night and watch the skies. Maybe I’ll do that some time.