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