Sunday, July 13, 2014

July 13, 2014 - The Good Life

The two kinds of visitors to Maine:

The first and most common is the tourist, which can be divided into two subcategories.  The first subcategory of the tourist is the obnoxious tourist who comes to see how quaint and "backward" we are here.  He points out all of the things we don't have and endlessly compares us to his "sophisticated" home (which is usually a concrete jungle).  She takes endless "selfies" and throws trash out the car window all over the countryside.  He gets irritated at our slow pace after the first couple of days and is very loud, especially at night.  (Mainers abhor loud unnecessary noise.  We do not "beep" our car horns either.)  Lastly, if all of her favorites aren't readily available (such as lattes and junk food), she becomes petulant and rude, commenting on how "out of it" we are here in Maine.  They leave here as quickly as they came, having learned nothing of our culture.

The second subcategory of the tourist is the interested and kind tourist who truly wants to see how we live here, and admittedly, our lifestyle is different from the rest of the United States.  He marvels at the vast countryside teeming with wildlife, since he often doesn't have that in his own state.  She compliments the quilting ladies, wool spinners, and weavers here, recognizing that most people in Maine still make their living from a "trade."  He is ready to accept that we are different and often appear reserved at first, and she loves our abundance of fresh real food and raw milk.  They have no desire to stay here too long, but they go home with good, lasting memories.

The good life in Maine.

But then there is the "other" kind of visitor.  There is a visitor who comes here to fill her soul up because it is empty, and she finds plenty with which to fill it.  There is a visitor who comes here because he wants to breathe in the constant smell of pine.  There is a visitor who wants to see where the sun meets the water in perfect love.  This visitor knows the true worth and value of Maine.  This visitor understand the hardships and embraces them.  This visitor is a kindred soul.  And lastly, this visitor, if s/he is brave enough, will stay forever.

Many people ask me, how do you come here?  How do you live here with so very little business?  How do you stay?  How do you make it happen?  To which I respond, ask yourself how much you need.  How much do you need to live?  How much are the "non-commodities" worth to you--the fresh air, water, sun, animals, etc.?  What is more important--the quiet sky at dawn or the conveniences of modern man?  And can you handle possible hardship and be financially "creative"?

Those who can answer the questions properly will stay or return soon for good.  Those who cannot (and there is no shame in that) will move on, and that includes some people who were born here.  What do you want out of life?  From the moment we are born, we are working our way toward our death.  How do you want to fill that infinitesimally small space?

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