As crazy as it sounds, the thing I noticed the most as I made the long drive home from the 203 to the 207 was the trees.
In a world where everything is supposed to be feeling smaller, they were bigger, standing larger than life; changing the way I used to view things.
The ride from Portland, Maine, to Bangor has always been a boring one. Trees to the left of me, forests to the right, I’m stuck in the middle with them as my car whizzes northbound faster than ever courtesy of a speed limit of 70 miles per hour.
I first noticed the difference when I hit Augusta, when I spied a glance toward the Augusta Civic Center and found it wasn’t there. Well, I assume it was there, but once upon a time you could see it above the tree line.
Driving through Waterville, I could always look to the right (or the left, depending on if I was driving north or south) and I’d be able to see a steeple from the Colby College campus. On Sunday I looked and saw green. Well, trees of green.
I literally couldn’t see the steeple through the trees.
Finally arriving in my “hometown” — the humble little hamlet of Orrington, Maine; population 3,000 when I called it home — I almost missed my best friend’s parents’ house because of how high the trees had grown in front of it.
Sure, I’ve grown, too, but everywhere else I’ve gone through life things seem to get littler.
New York City — which has always seemed to me to be the biggest city in the civilized world — has gotten smaller with each and every visit. The last time I went to Boston, which once upon a time had felt huge, suddenly felt so cozy.
Stay away from Maine for 20 years, though, and you find things really are getting bigger.
The trees. Go figure.
• • •
One of the reasons I escaped to Maine for the second week of my first-ever “double vacation” was to clear my head, rest my soul and do some writing.
That, I hope, includes daily updates here at the “October Weekend.”
I’ve always said this isn’t about you, the reader, but about me and thus I’m sure I”ll dance with a few ghosts here as the week goes by and I try to make it the full seven days I’ve shelled out the big bucks for.
Upon arriving at the camp, which is tucked away along the shoreline of Green Lake in Dedham, my initial reaction 15 minutes in was simply “What the hell am I doing here?”
There is no television. (Well, there is a television, but there is nothing but static since there is no cable TV and no antenna attached to the top of it.) I came in knowing I wouldn’t have ESPN or CNN or HBO — but no Channel 2, 5, 7 or 12? Oh dear.
The renter told me he had a shoe box full of DVDs tucked away somewhere inside the camp, but they are nowhere to be found, perhaps pilfered by a previous renter. Must have been a helluva selection. I’m guessing “The Lake House” with Sandra Bullock.
I do, however, have my phone and iPad and when I must hear the noise of something other than a boat speeding across the water, or a bird calling out from the trees (which I’m sure are bigger here, too), I am safe in knowing that the next episode of “Broadway Empire” is only a few gigabytes away.
I have no timetable here in Maine, not this week. I do have a list of people that I want to see and hope to see, and a couple of other plans that I hope to undertake, as well.
And, as I said, I want to write.
Maybe I’ll write a lot because, Lord knows, there are plenty of big-ass trees in this state all of a sudden to put the Internet out of business and keep newspapers alive for another good decade or two.
If only people could walk away from that Internet and actually buy a newspaper, that is.
But I digress.
There is a reason I am here — a reason I picked this place and this lake, which is a part of me and who I am today — and I’m sure I’ll get to that in another post.
For now, though, there are a few things I need to do before I get around to doing the things I want to do.
I hope the sun is shining where you are. And I hope there are less ants.