Packing for Maine

This week, my husband and I leave for vacation in Maine, where we’ll spend too few days with people we love and an agenda of good food, good drink, and good books. Little else, I hope.

In between some necessary doings today, I started to pack our bag. It’s a small one—meant for lone nights over, I’m sure—but this is summer on Casco Bay, and I really can’t imagine we’ll need more than jeans, a few tees, and a sweatshirt between us. And as I sat there on the bedspread, folding, considering this tank or that one, wondering after those lost and longed-for shorts, I was also thinking of our last trip to Maine—and of our first, too.

Of e-mailing Matt one early Sunday morning to say that I was so sorry, I couldn’t make it to the Super Bowl party; I had met this boy, and he wanted to take me to Portland. (I know, I do. Crossing state lines with a newfound friend? But guys, I had a feeling.)

Of driving from Boston to an even colder city, north—and not thinking for a moment that Maine in February was foolish. Stopping to photograph a lighthouse. Stopping again, to eat. (Chowder at Gilbert’s, of course.) Driving back and pausing in New Hampshire for moonshine, just because. Being home in Cambridge and ordering sushi that never came—and so, White Lightin’ for dinner. And then, months later and another, warmer drive to Portland. Farther, too, to Deer Isle and Acadia, where we loafed and (half-)hiked and thought of Boston, and of leaving it.

So much has happened since Maine, then. A new address (or five). A marriage and an anniversary. Infinite drives and fewer flights. And while Portland is very lovely, I think it’s safe to say that I’m more than reasonably excited to be there. But I am—over-the-moon-like. For the lobster. For the days that begin in loonsong on a porch and end there, too—but with beers and a sky that’s no longer fog but striations of color, and wondrous. Mostly, though, for the camerado, who made this place a place.

So Malcolm, if you’re reading, thanks for traveling with me—to Maine or wherever, then and always. Thanks for sharing your sweatshirt, too.