I arrived in Ogunquit at 8:30 pm from Springfield. The last stretch through NH to Maine was a task. I checked in at the Norseman and gave Ed a quick call. “I’m here! All safe.” Then, I did battle with a split of merlot while watching the Red Sox/Yankees on the small TV.
Straining my bicep, pulling and pulling at the synthetic cork, trying heat on the neck (as advised by wikihow), shredding the cork and finally pushing it in (plop!), I poured myself a glass. I had picked up a fattoush salad with grilled lamb from Nadim’s in Springfield. I unpacked that. With my salad, glass of merlot and my cross-stitch, I settled in. One small X after another. And, a grand slam for Saltalamacchia in the 7th inning.
I woke up at 4:47 am—probably just minutes after my husband, 150 miles away. I tried counting backwards from 100 to get back to sleep, but to no avail. I opened a window to hear the ocean. I learned that visitors to Maine rise early. Walkers, runners, cars pulling into the parking lot before 6 am. Raining slightly. I saw the sun peek through the clouds for an instant as it rose up out of the sea.
After breakfast (oatmeal and real maple syrup), I headed to the beach. First, wrapped in a blanket on a Norseman-provided Adirondack chair, doing my cross-stitch. The sun decided to shine. I took an hour-long walk up to and back from Footbridge Beach. The beach of my late-1960s childhood. I settled down at the edge of the dunes with blanket, snacks and a book for several hours. When the sun was out, the day was hot and sunburn-worthy. On a dime, the clouds rolled in and I was reaching for my sweater.
In the afternoon, I walked into town for a clam roll and iced tea. And, a bit of shopping. Food shopping. Those who know me best won’t be surprised that I did not go into any of the boutiques in Ogunquit. But, I did go into the fancy food market. I purchased garlicky chicken and a Greek salad for my dinner and a 4-pack of O’Hara’s stout. One bottle for me, the rest to bring home for Ed. After dropping everything at the hotel, I took a walk on the Marginal Way.
During this walk, waves of emotion started to rise up in me. Like the ocean, rising. Sometimes cresting, with the sunlight glinting through the spray. Rolling toward the shore. Receding. These waves accompanied me through the rest of my time in Ogunquit.
I felt the first wave as I rounded a bend on the Marginal Way and saw that people had created stone sculptures along the rocky coastline. Dozens of them. At one point, I saw a family in the process of creating—placing rocks upon rocks. Creating. Playing on the seashore. Oh, people! Good for you!!!
The second wave hit me later in the evening. In a major $90-splurge on myself, I bought a single ticket to see West Side Story at the Ogunquit Playhouse. The depth and clarity of Ross Lekites’ voice in “Something’s Coming” reached into my soul. I knew I was in for a major treat. The entire show was spectacular, yet it is Tony’s enduring optimism, played to perfection by Lekites, that buttresses the storyline.
Will it be? Yes it will
Maybe just by holding still
It’ll be there!
I experienced the third wave on Sunday morning. At 6 am, I was suddenly alert. If the day was clear, I realized, I could see the sun rise today! I jumped out of bed, pulled on my jeans and a sweater, barely brushed my hair and didn’t brush my teeth. With sneakers in hand, I walked across the parking lot to the beach.
I was amazed to see about 50 people, from all walks of life, waiting on the beach for the sunrise. I sat down in the sand, emotion rising within me as I waited with strangers. All of us here, to witness the daily miracle of daybreak. After much teasing, the sun finally popped out of the Atlantic. Cameras clicked up and down the beach. I closed my eyes and felt the sun’s warmth on my forehead. Calm your mind, and your heart will follow.
As the sun ascended into the sky, I rolled up my jeans and walked down the beach. I noted the footprints of today’s sun worshipers. One person had drawn a quartered circle, with the East located toward the sunrise.
Yes, of course, it is nearly the Equinox. True East. Again, I found myself settling at the edge of the dunes. This time, I spent 20 minutes meditating. Picture a beach… Ogunquit is the beach for me!
Sunday morning breakfast, an egg over easy with rye toast and coffee. I gathered all of my things together for an easy departure and headed to the beach for the last few hours of my visit. The book I brought with me, The White Witch by Elizabeth Goudge, was a present from my grandmother to my mother in 1958. “To my baby, of whom I am so proud”, Grandma had written. My mother was 19 at the time. My grandmother was 55, just a few years older than I am now.
This book seemed like the perfect choice for my Ogunquit trip. I thought it likely that I had read this book years ago, but I was amazed when a bookmark, placed by me on page 92 sometime during my early adolescence, fell out of the pages. Here I am, picking up where I left off. After reading for a bit, I got out my Tarot cards and played with a couple of spreads.
I took a final stroll. I had cut the bottom of my foot during my weekend. My grandmother told me that the sea heals all wounds, so I stood in the ice cold waters and felt the pull of the tide. The sun, the sand and the sea. I’m here. All safe.