A short story from: Coastal Maine in Words and Art: Gallery Fukurou’s Reflections by Maine Writers, 2019.
© Lee Heffner, 2019
Home, photographic art by Yorozuya Yohaku
A dirt road, unsigned, leads to a cove and a single house. The resident, yes singular, was chosen by the landscape. Come in. Be seated. Bask in the momentary peace. Be prepared for squalls, blizzards and nor’easters. The sea changes with the ease of blockbuster movie transitions.
Observe the lobster boats, captained by the farmers of the sea. Relentless crews who read the horizon and drop traps and buoys to mark seabed acreage. The buoys are fences to warn poachers, “Encroach at your risk!” Wars have been started over less. The resident bears witness.
The image of silence is deceptive. It is never quiet at the edge of the sea. Gulls soar and screech, “Eek, eek, eek!” They dive for imaginary morsels and—“Eek!” again in disappointment. One true morsel brings another dozen hunters who scrabble for a crumb. Manners are a handicap in the wild.
Foghorns blast, ferry whistles blow, wind and tide warn of change. The resident listens for the cues and prepares to batten the hatches—or throw open the shutters to brilliant blue sky. Fog settles in an instant to blanket the house, like a mother covers her child. Dawn approaches and brings clear skies.
Each day smells of brine, clean air, unpolluted water, and hope for the environment. The tide brings sea glass, smooth as a baby’s bottom, shells that echo the laws of math, and scraps of plastic that warn of danger. The resident must be vigilant. The resident must work at tasks large and small to protect the heritage of the alone but engaged. Don’t let this image be the last of a perfect landscape.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Coastal Maine in Words and Art: Gallery Fukurou’s Reflections by Maine Writers, 2019 was published after a contest for writers to create stories to accompany art photography that depicted Rockland and the coast in its myriad situations, moods and emotions. This story was published in the book along with 27 others.
An overwhelming 88 stories were submitted for the contest. In the end seventeen writers were chosen. Their stories are told with depth, insight, candor, irony, wit and humor. Anyone who has every visited Maine’s coast will be able to relate to them. They’ve put humankind’s instinctive emotional connection with the sea into words.
The Maine Humanities Council provided a grant for our project that enabled the Solon Center to donate books to libraries across Maine. MHC is a statewide non-profit organization that uses the humanities, “as a tool for positive change in Maine communities.”