Thursday, November 10, 2011

A weekend Down East






Dee's brother Jim is quite sick these days, and last weekend we went to Lubec, Maine, to visit him and Marilyn and check up on their new place. They've moved into a bed-and-breakfast inn there, and out of their more primitive place in the woods outside of town. It's much more comfortable at the inn, with running water, indoor plumbing, electricity and cable television - everything Jim has (happily) lived without for almost 40 years. But he's sick and needs the comforts of the 20th century.
I wrote about Lubec a month ago, after we returned from our last visit. End-of-the-road town, one bar, one grocery, several struggling churches, a fishing fleet of perhaps 20 boats, a small summer holiday boom, a bridge across the channel to the Canadian island of Campobello. And wind and cold that starts right about now.
There is a cold, hard beauty to the town, where old houses spill down the hillsides of the peninsula almost to the water. The canneries that supported the town are long gone, though the docks and some of the warehouses are still there, rotting quietly as the tide comes and goes.
It was comforting to us that so many people know Jim, or know of him. One woman at the Congregational church Christmas fair (corn chowder, cream cheese and olive sandwich, brownie and coffee for $4.50) said, "Well, we take care of our own in this town." And that appears to be true.
Nearby Lubec is West Quoddy Head State Park, with its red-and-white-striped brick lighthouse, and its long wooded paths along the shore cliffs. Quoddy Head is the easternmost point of land in the United States. One of Jim's great regrets as he has been so weakened is that he can no longer walk the trails there that he walked for decades. We spent part of one sunny afternoon doing just that, so that we could tell him about it when we returned to the inn. It's a beautiful place.
Photos: West Quoddy Head Light, the pews at Lubec Congregational Christian Church, the ocean at Quoddy Head, looking toward Grand Manan island, the forest above the cliffs.

7 comments:

cookingwithgas said...

Hollis, Is so important to have this time with Jim and walking the paths he walked for years as important. When we took my mother to see brother Jay we rode over the mountains and let him take us to his favorite places and views. The ease of his voice as he would quietly say turn here, take a right, go left-stop. I have had dreams with Jay in them the past few weeks and I know it is because I miss him and I need his advice so badly right now.
As the festival draws near I am missing Lee as she came year after year to help me. She even brought my lunch and she and Leslie would head to the house to fix dinner for us all- welll there I go making this about me- I am happy you were there with him and so happy that he is being cared for.
Give Dee my love, M

Michèle Hastings said...

sorry to hear about your brother-in-laws illness, i am sure it was difficult for him to leave his rustic home... i know from experience that when someone is very sick they typically find comfort in familiar surroundings.

the rocky coast of Maine is definitely a world of it's own... my former mother-in law grew up on Matinicus Island and visiting there was like stepping back in time.

Dennis Allen said...

Love the colors ( both of them) in the pictures.

Linda Starr said...

Ah yes Gary and I both know about needing the certain comforts familiar surrounds and yet also the comforts of modern conveniences all too well, I wish the best for Dee's brother and the stay at the location away from the home they knew so well. Things about us are also about you and yours and in this way we share in the comforts and solace of life as it goes.

The black and white are so comforting, appropriate and poignant to the mood of this post.

Tracey Broome said...

Beautiful photos Hollis, you know I am partial to a good pic :) Great post also, I would move to Maine in a nano second if the winters were better. Being a South Carolina girl, I just don't like it when it gets below 40 degrees!!

ang walford said...

stunning photos Hollis!! 40 below Trace argh!!! the cape was cold enough for me :P

cindy shake said...

The photos are beautiful. You've captured the soul of the area. Sad about your brother-in-law not being able to be closer to Nature on the trails each day. When my mother-in-law was in a similar situation I often drove her to the mountains with a blanket and comfy camp chair and set her out in the open sun and fresh air just to be able to absorb the surroundings for a few hours, then loaded her back in the car for the trip home! She would glow after her "day out." Love reading about the town -makes me yearn for that way of life.