What do Mainers do when the thermometer starts to dip below zero? They start rooting around the back of their closets for winter coats.
Or, like the couple at 9:30am this morning, they sip from steamy mugs on the porch of their Rockland harbor house, yes – outside, stocking up on Vitamin D and waving at bundled up passersby like me.
And so the hardy-soul anecdotes roll in, like sea smoke on these brisk and windy mornings out on Penobscot Bay.
I only saw the ocean for the first time at fourteen, so this foggy phenomenon remained unknown to me until now. A late sea bloomer, I’ve come to adore the water, sailing on it, swimming in it, and climbing up mountains to gaze back down on it, yet its mystery still remains. I’ve ventured both to near and far off seas: the Adriatic, Caribbean, South China… and there will be more, I’m sure, but I forget I live so close now I can contemplate the sea smoke and other vagaries of life from its shoreline daily. Without fail, my breath intakes sharply as Route 1 veers down along inlets and coves while blue-green vistas open suddenly, generously, before my eyes. Like a Buddhist goldfish, I am all presence and no memory each time, reverent and new.
This magical circumstance of hydrogen and hydrogen and oxygen, between floe and water, has me in its trance, and like a mirror it reflects back my own mysteries I realize I don’t need to solve anymore. I think I prefer the hovering, an enigma balanced between earth and sky, of form and formlessness.
And until I earn a native’s wintry hardiness, I’ll keep buttoned up, and drink my coffee inside.