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

© Lee Heffner, 2019

Seaweed Waterfront, photographic art by Yorozuya Yohaku

Sails, photographic art by Ramona du Houx

Maine has two seasons—Shades of Gray and Technicolor Pastels. Shades of Gray begin as October wanes. Falling leaves bring falling light and temperatures. Houses, bare trees and the rocky shore are brought into sharp contrast through nuanced grays. Occasional relief comes in an unexpected blanket of dazzling white. Crystalline snow changes the landscape to a temporary fairyland. Spare Jack Spratt branches drag under the burden of the flake poundage. In the early hours, predawn, massive plows are released to insult, divert and rearrange the uninvited, interrupting whiteness. Gray must prevail until April gloom coaxes what lies beneath the earth to declare renewed life and the advent of annual color.

Delicate and shy greens emerge, followed by the sure-to-expire-soon yellow of forsythia. Mainers know the bright, big-top vibrancy is passing through. It opens the gate to the delicacy of hydrangeas. Gulls that blend in gray become stark contrast to the returning blue that defines what sky blue could be for everyone, if life were fair. Soon the temperatures rise, and the colors blend to a hazy wonderland of what life should be. The welcome-to-Maine sign at the border dazzles passers-through with the motto during the pastel season. All seems magical, pristine, simple.

But waiting, always waiting is the Shades of Gray season, where the depth of Maine abides in the wings.


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.