When I originally moved to Portland, Maine in the late 70’s I fell in love with the place. I had grown up in Caribou, Maine…far from the ocean, and although I still have good childhood memories of Caribou, moving to Portland was quite a thrill. I remember driving all around with new found friends along roads that, at every corner, exposed views that would take my breath away. I quickly grew accustomed to the docks, fisherman and local haunts. While I loved (and still do), driving the spectacular roads with views and breaking waves off the rocky ocean landscape, I enjoy being on foot the most.
I love to walk ocean city streets. I love the smell, the colors, the tattered look of lobster cages, ropes dangling from boats, and the determined, hardworking demeanor of those who make a living on the waterfront. I have a fondness for the worn down buildings and restaurants. I love the hustle of the islanders coming off the ferries on the “mainland” and heading to their offices and up town to put in their various days of work.
I like the brick and mortal of the once infested unpopular waterfront districts, now lined with rustic shops and pricey tourist memorabilia. I love the smell of competing fancy coffee, doughnut, and cookie stores along with the near hits that gawking tourists almost always seem to experience at the hands of Commercial Street traffic or over- zealous skateboarders. I love street vendors, the thin alleyways, the décor and hippy dippy clothing and consignment retail purchases. I adore the antique and brass signs, misplaced and crooked on the window arches.
I cannot imagine ever living away from the ocean. To me, every single waterfront is a gateway to the world, whether you ever go anywhere. The waterfront is the place stories and poems are written about. It is a place of enchantment, wonder, and lingering mystery.
And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered in one place, and let the dry ground appear.” And it was so. God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called ‘seas.” And God saw that it was good.