Bear left off the small circle
past the high school and football field.
Watch your speed – they ticket you here.
Ride past the inn with the too tall hedges
and Carol Santora’s house.
She is the pastel artist with two dogs –
Biscuit and Dixie. Dixie has her own blog:
Happy Hound Designs.
Carol paints horses, wildlife and animal art whose spirit speaks
to her through colorful brush strokes and whispers of grace.
Her husband’s collection of classic trucks and cars is parked out front.
There are other artists living nearby – Ronald R. Parry paints
racing sailboats flying their watercolor spinnakers.
And then you arrive at Robin and Marsie’s home – number thirteen –
a shabby old duplex with a porch just six feet from the street.
Plant beds filled with a whimsical collection of flowers and weeds
grow along the front and side beckoning to butterflies, chickadees,
chipmunks and bees to feast and rest.
Robin and Marsie’s cats – Ariella, Luna and Feather love to gaze
at them for hours all the while flicking the tips of their fluffy tails.
The house is greige – a grey beige of peeling paint and classic
New England weather-beaten charm.
The windows are large and long letting in sun and clouds to wash over
rooms that are the warm colors of Santa Fe and the desert southwest.
Artwork spills from the walls to the floor along with trailing potted plants
that move outside until the first frost.
The kitchen brims with their favorite spices, recipes, remedies,
teas, essences and too many smudged cookbooks.
Spirited notes collected over the years are posted on the fridge
along with favorite and faded photos of those near and dear,
here and long-gone, heart-held and mostly smiling.
Their kitchen table is always cluttered with papers and mail,
trinkets and bargains – the small stuff of busy lives.
Bathrooms are scented with soaps of calendula, honey-chamomile
and the reading library by the john invites wanderlust and beauty.
Friends gather on the plump earthy red sofas and are warmed
by a faux fireplace and much laughter.
Up the worn steps are the bedrooms, meditation space and
creative offices slash studio.
More plants and notes-to-self and his/herstory of lives deeply lived.
This is the dilapidated old house in southern Maine on Fletcher Street
that I love best.
On to town, walk past the quiet bank to the library with the fairy garden
and around the corner to the church with the steeple
that chimes hourly built by Paul Revere or so they say.
Headstones in the graveyard lean toward the rolling mounds of earth
and date from the times of sea captains, poets and early soldiers of life.
Main Street on the other hand, is alive on Saturday mornings
with the wares of farmers, crafters and regulars sampling their goods.
Other shops are Cherie’s deli-wine-pastry-vegan-and-not-vegan haven
with a wooden floor and a few small round table and chairs.
A Caprese sandwich on a baguette, hot tea or cider, quinoa muffins
(Robin’s favorite) are served or happily carried-out.
Across the way is the health food store that is whole-wheat scented
and sells local artist cards filled with heart lines and coastline.
To get there the road crosses over the Kennebunk River and waterfalls.
A man once got stuck climbing the rocky bank and had to be rescued.
Roads lead north and south to other charming towns,
but I most love the ones winding east to the sea
past the Wedding Cake House and Waldo Emerson Inn.
They were built by ancestors of the Transcendentalist writer-poet
Ralph Waldo Emerson and used as part of the underground railroad.
Ghosts, secrets and initialed windows keep company with the guests.
On to the sea – past the grassy marshes
where heron and kingfishers fly and feed is Rocky Beach.
Everyone collects the smooth heart-shaped stones.
They are charcoal-shaded when wet.
You can also find and place triangle-shape stones on top of flat ones
to create your own fleet of wayward sailboats.
Between the breaking waves and horizon is a lighthouse
and real sailboats weaving memories of a bygone era.
It is here that you can stand on the edge of the sea
and breathe in the brine of lobsters and their lore.
It is here where poets and those with the souls of poets come
to beachcomb to collect or toss their pain and joy to the breaking water.
It is here where I left my heart when you passed on.
It is here where I return to feel close to you.
It is here where I leave that part of me that belongs
to all our long slow walks together on the many beaches
and shorelines of our life.
Here is where I choose to be near you.
… and it is here where I choose to let you go.
ag ~ Thanksgiving Sunday ~ 2012