Softly Swimming Upstream


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Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, USA.

Grey Olson, Editor

A hand in front of my face, but I can hardly see it. Mist sits on the land like a heavy blanket. We have come by way of Freeport, Acadia, Winter Harbor, to the edge of the mainland, a point so finely etched by thousands of years of wind and waves. The sky is silver above; the rock is slick like sand through an hourglass. Waves rough like torn cloth, whitecaps frothing against the jagged edge of the land; the horizon is but a mere suggestion. We see the sailboat progress into the mist, slinking away to sea. Almost like it is being called home. 

This is a land of lobster and lighthouses, loggers and large globes. A case in contradictions, it was a colonial wildland, an appendage of an older state, severed to solve the country’s woes. It was only a temporary solution, but the ravages of war only scratched their talons against this state. Harriet Beecher Stowe had a home in Brunswick in the 1850s, where she wrote the bulk of Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Edna St. Vincent Millay spent her girlhood here, ice skating in her kitchen after winter floods. The land is a silent catalyst, hiding under cover of snow. 

Lights glare out at ships coming to harbor, fleeting beacons circling and circling in the sky. We have come to this place for the calmness but find wonder in the soft furor, fish swimming upstream, and pine needles like little daggers. Leaves burn bright before floating down into the rivers flowing into the seas, leaving barren trees as reminders, their branches sharp against the ever-present sky.