After living out of my trusty duffel and backpack in a cabin in the woods with twelve 3rd-5th graders (and amazing co-workers), it’s time to return to the world of laptops and libraries. Tomorrow I head off to school in Wisconsin again after a blissful four days in what my cousin calls a Valhalla–Mount Desert Island in Maine. With it’s lake-filled valleys, rail-like pines, and dramatic cliffs plummeting into the Atlantic, Acadia National Park could easily be the landscape of a Norse myth.
A view of Somes Sound
I really love places. Sometimes I love them more than people. And this island is one of the places I love most in the world.
Why Mount Desert Island is Great:
1. It humbles you. I was in a stinky grumpy mood while hiking above Somes Sound with my cousin, mom, and sister. It was the result of too many car hours, sleep in a Quality Inn, and negative side of my personality. About three miles into the hike while traversing a slope that lead steeply down to the sea, a rock gave way under me and I tumbled off the side of the trail toward the water. Luckily a tree stopped my fall, but I had a few scrapes and bruises on my hands and legs which remained for the rest of the trip. As much as the fall disoriented me, it also realigned my attitude. I lightened up.
2. Water is everywhere. That line of murky blue that knits together the ocean and the air. Sinking down through clear pond water midway through a hike. Walking through sea waves with the taste of salt on your lips. Little fish nibbling your toes as you rest them on the rocks of a depthless lake. Mermaids have it good.
3. Lovely Inhabitants. We were shopping in downtown Bar Harbor on a Sunday night and we were in some outdoor sporting good store (typical Clarke family). After finding Chinese rice paddy hats made from a strange foam and decorated in tie-dye designs, laughing hysterically said hats, trying them on, and finally taking pictures in the window with them, I found a dragonfly. It was buzzing against the window trying to escape the consumer frenzy inside. I gingerly grabbed it by a wing and brought it to the doorstep of the store where I let it go. Watching it zoom off into the sky, a guy walking by looked surprised. “You’re a wizard!” he said to me and kept walking. Best compliment ever, hands down. There’s cool people afoot in Maine.
My cousin and my sister in the front seat of the Volkswagen as we drive Park Loop Road.