I was born and brought up in Massachusetts, but several years ago I adopted Maine as my home. It is beautiful here, offering the best of what nature can provide. We have mountains, an ocean, forests, and an abundance of lakes. Jump in the car and drive in any direction and you can spend a day reaping the fruits of the environment. If you drive up the coast, you are treated to an abundance of small villages that cluster along the shoreline, postcards waiting to be painted. There is comfort to be had in the narrow streets lined with old buildings and boutiques. In many, the locals still sit on benches or in the local coffee shops, continuing to solve the country’s problems. I wish I had lived here as a child. I feel a kinship to this area. So I have invented my own village and my own history.
I drive in silence, watching the road closely as it coils along the rocky coastline, occasionally flipping on the wipers to remove the sea mist that gathers on my windshield. How long has it been, I muse, since the last time i was here. More years then I like to think I’m afraid. Yet still, the closer I come to the village that was my childhood home, the more a sense of belonging reawakens.
I enter the village, passing the old high school and several of the shops on Main St, most with new names and new owners while others sit dark and vacant. I can’t help but feel a little sad. This town was the soul of my childhood and I guess I had never expected it to forsake my memories. It would somehow remain frozen in time, exactly as I remembered it, waiting for my return to begin anew.
I search for the familiar as I near the old port, only to be greeted by a today I had not anticipated. I am home and my home is no longer here. Then I hear the bell. The mellow chime calls to me, like the voice of an old friend. I drive with haste until arriving at the little Chapel by the Sea.
I stare as if seeing it for the first time, savoring the weather beaten wood and frosted windowpanes. The sturdy steeple urging me to enter. As I step into the dim, cool interior, it is as if I never left. I am that kid again with shined shoes and slicked down hair that came here every Sunday to profess my faith.
The silence is overwhelming as I slide into a pew, letting the nostalgia of the moment wash over me. I have found my anchor. For all my absence, it has waited for my return and, wrapping me securely in it’s embrace seems to say “welcome back, I’ve missed you”.