That is how native Mainers describe the summer people who engulf
their state and encroach on their individualistic way of life.
If you were
not born in Maine and don't have at least three generations of
forebears in a nearby churchyard, your roots are not really grounded
in native soil. It is expected that the chill winds of winter
and a highly cyclical economy will blow you south—to a warmer
and less demanding climate.
the locals have learned to accommodate themselves to a changing
and more crowded world. You may even earn a Mainer's respect if
you are highly skilled at anything mechanical or creative—provided
you don't toot your own horn.
from away does have its unique perspectives and pleasures. When
a summer person is in Maine, he or she is truly away from the
job, daily routine, the usual hassles, and bill paying.
new sites and experiences, and time to reflect on them. A person
from away can enjoy genuinely picturesque scenes of abandoned
cottages and rusted hulls of derelict fishing boats. It is an
admittedly romantic and limited view of things.
is a land of rugged mountains, powerful rivers, clear lakes, and
ponderous potato fields, it is the rocky seacoast that lures millions
of tourists and part-time residents to the state. The granite
cliffs, cold ocean tides, and squawking gulls beckon and bewitch
the outsider. And keep many of us coming back summer after summer.
The part of
coast and countryside that stole my heart was the Casco Bay region
near Portland. It has inspired and transfixed me like no other
area of the United States—and I have lived and traveled
all over the country.
am not entirely at home in Maine, I am at home with myself while
I am here. There are no pressing business matters or meetings.
All I really want to do is savor the seashore and meander around
the working harbors and isolated villages. There are still communities
that remember how to listen to the ocean, forest, and field. Sometimes
I, too, hear the cyclical rhythms of nature that modern life has
My Maine summers
are not especially grand, exotic, or expensive. Rather, they are
largely spent observing the passage of an illuminating northern
New England light over weathered and irregular surfaces. These
beautiful and unexpected patches of reality are artifacts crafted
by salt water, sun, wind, rain, and time.
So my camera
is constantly snapping photos, and sable brushes are painting
pictures. On good days, they tell me that some of the prosaic
magic of Maine can be found in these images. It is a vision of
the world that makes the present seem like forever.
Early in 2001,
I underwent lifesaving surgery in Philadelphia, which had been
my home for twenty years. Two weeks before the operation, my wife
and I purchased a condominium in a century-old brick building
on Portland's West Promenade. My intention was to either live
or die by Casco Bay. Fortunately, it is the former.
I hope that
the photos and art in this folio bring you joy and tempt you to
visit Maine. If you permit yourself to wander about without expectations,
your eyes will find what they need to see.