A short story from: Coastal Maine in Words and Art: Gallery Fukurou’s Reflections by Maine Writers, 2019.

© Lee Van Dyke, 2019

Free Flight, photographic art by Ramona du Houx

He had made it to one of the great getaway places in the world. Maine, and the wind was fresh. Running away from an early love, he wasn’t sure how he ended up here. The friends he was stopping to see were former colleagues and had offered an invitation. He was pretty sure they hadn’t expected to have it accepted. No matter. They were gracious and here he was.

He realized on this dazzling day, filled with sailboats viewed from the shore, that he couldn’t run away. He had run to a place which filled his senses with salt air, beans and brown bread, stories being told, black flies, and spinnakers. In this case, he was watching a race out on the water, but he had no dog in the hunt. He had to admit that he couldn’t really be sad, with all the stirring signs of fresh life all around.

We’re none of us locked in the same spot anymore. And few he’d met had been here all their life. Some were from Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, or the Midwest. All were perching on the rocky shore as gleefully as he was. This beach wasn’t anywhere to sunbathe, really, compared to inland beaches he knew as a boy. The water temperature wasn’t anything he’d have previously thought swimmable. The hardscrabble ground wouldn’t grow a tomato on odd years. But here he had friends, both from here and from away.

Here he was watching the Friendship sloop races, and he realized again that the name of the sloop was for him the name of the game. Not a race at all, but new friends to be greeted, friends to hold, and new friends he’d never forget. Couldn’t be running away, when you wanted to make the shore before the wind switched. His early love was being blown away in the breeze, and the joy of the day. Like a butterfly he celebrated and was dazzled.

It proved a win for him in his race to get on with his life. He realized that this place held a distillation of new friends, which like friends everywhere held a combined grace of the beautiful, the ephemeral, and the rich. Curiously, it was like colorful sails before the wind. The filled sails very like butterflies. Both filled with joy. Perfect in visual metaphor, and perfect for a Maine day.


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.

A gallery exhibit/booksigning was held at Gallery Fukurou in September 2019. The contest was held by Polar Bear and Company, of the Solon Center for Research and Publishing.

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.”

Please ask your local bookstore to order it in for you or, if need be, purchase it HERE. All photographic art is available through Gallery Fukurou at info(at)soloncenter.org.