Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Happiness is an island in Maine

I picked up my vacation photos last night from the lab. I took ten rolls over the week I was away, mostly snapshots to make paintings from this winter. Here's one of me on the front porch just before I took the boat back to the mainland (photo taken by my friend Daphne). I've got my hair pulled back because the water table on the island is dicey, so bathing and hair-washing is kept to a minimum when the house is full of people. Washing dishes for twelve people and having water to cook with and to drink is more important than bathing. I did manage to bathe a few times over the course of the week, and I also jumped in the ocean a few times, hardy Maine girl that I am. That morning I was feeling sanguine about leaving; I'd had such a great week I didn't feel like I could reasonably expect to prolong it. Besides, the warm early morning light on the bay didn't leave any room for unhappiness:

And here's another shot, of one of the paths on the island. They hug the shore all the way around, open out onto many small stony beaches, and criss-cross through thick spruce forests and along the edges of a few long open meadows. Most of the paths have beautiful moss growing along their edges, and are dark red from layers of old soft spruce and balsam fir needles. I'm working on a series of paintings called island pathways - roads and paths, both good metaphors and literally good places, in this case:

It was both strange and wonderful to spend a week with no phone, computer, car, and even books - I did take two books, and the house had around a thousand books in its many bookcases, but other than browsing a bit here and there, I didn't read at all. When it was daylight I wanted to be outside as much as I could, and in the evenings we were meditating, having supper, then talking and laughing in front of the fireplace. We read some poetry aloud, too. I never think I can be truly happy without books nearby, but a few were on a small shelf over the bed in my room, including a battered copy of Mansfield Park and a great old children's book, Strawberry Girl, by Lois Lenski.

So, at this point I'm feeling fine about rejoining the world, and the photos all make me smile. It's good to go away, and it's good to come back. I'm very grateful that customers at the shop have been both browsing and buying both last week and this. Even the fussy ones. A selection from the recent sales slips: The Forgotten Art of Building a Good Fireplace, The Selected Writings of Gertrude Stein, an early edition of Fannie Farmer (he was so happy to find it), A Farewell to Arms, several books about and by Charles Darwin, some John McPhee, a nice hardcover edition of Donne, an art book about Alexander Calder's mobiles, poetry by William Drummond, and on and on and on. Back to the easel, and the book desk. Happiness is also a bookshop in Maine.

Lovely photograph of you, Sarah. Have you considered painting a self-portrait?
Okay, I confess, I am having a serious case of porch envy. Guess it's time to plan my own journey to one of Maine's beautiful islands.
Beautiful photos. Thanks!
Self-portraits: I've done 'em before and I will do 'em again. Meantime, I'm painting trees and rocks. Thanks for the comments, all.
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?