Scenes from Vinalhaven

So I thought that yesterday, Monday, would be the day that I wrote something nice and fulfilling about the past week in Maine… and there I was, sitting in front of my Squarespace empty blog post (anti-climactic, I know), and I just really didn’t want to.

See, the thing that was so magical about the past week in Maine and my vacation with my family was that it wasn’t ultra-photogenic or blog-postable. Nobody really wants to see us huddled around a 1000 piece cake-pop puzzle (the sprinkles were devilish but it was the most satisfying thing to happen to me in 2015, I kid you not). I didn’t bring my Nikon kayaking; I didn’t even bring my phone on the trip for quick snaps. Instead, I’m left with vivid mental images of our vacation – the kind that are Polaroid-tinted in your memory.

We swam in a local quarry when it was warm and bright. The natural granite steps grow hot as the day progresses, providing the perfect seats for lounging in the late afternoon, late August sun. The water is cool and fresh and free from plants and fish (aka, things that make me squeal, no shame in admitting it). Most delightfully, the quarries were filled to the brim with the kinds of kids you’d see in Judy Bloom novels.

We watched a boy of eleven or twelve scramble up a pine tree, placing his feet in the joints of branches; he shouted for his mother to take his picture.

She fumbled with her camera and we watched without shame as he shuffled uneasily on the branches, rearranging his feet and hands and glancing forward, out over the quarry.

We watched him calculate the angle and force with which he’d have to jump so as not to land on the jagged rocks that jutted out from the quarry’s edge. When she was finally prepared, he jumped the forty feet into the water below, and the forty or so people around clapped.

The day before, we watched as a gang of eight teenagers (probably around the ages of twelve or thirteen) gathered by the water’s edge – this time with a bike. They first threw the bike off the rocks to see where it would land, and when they were satisfied with the results, they took turns pitching themselves into the water at full speed.

The ringleader of the group of wore a shell necklace (gag me), and talked loudly in the way that kids do, without any sort of sense for the displeasure of others. It was painfully obvious he was vying for attentions of Greta, a beautiful girl with long hair and a straw hat. She was lanky and tanned deeply brown and when it came time for her to take her turn off the rocky cliff, she faltered repeatedly until she claimed the whole thing stupid and suggested going into town instead. Boy With Shell Necklace wore her hat while she rode circles on the bike.

There was a girl of around ten years old who rang the doorbell every single day asking if I could come and play with her. The first day I made the mistake of answering the door; her nose was pressed up against the glass and I could see the moisture from her breath. Gross. When I told her that we were busy – glancing at Riley in the other room for help – she said, “you really can’t spare 10 minutes?” I told her that we were leaving soon and she said, “Well, the rest of your family isn’t here, surely you’re not leaving right now.” I told her Riley and I were going to the quarry – big mistake. She said she’d ask her nana (who had a bad back and could never play with her) and get her bathing suit.

We literally lived in fear of this child for the rest of the vacation. Don’t get me wrong, I love kids. But really not the kind that have no perception of manners or social niceties or are seemingly unable to make friends of her own age. She also called me the kid. What? Don’t I at least look like an adult? She definitely wasn’t getting any playtime now! I was too busy questioning my entire adult existence.

If you were wanting some actual photo instead of the mental image kind, here you are.

It’s funny though – I’ve emerged from our week in Maine with the overwhelming sense that I am just NOT a vacation person. I’ve got to be constantly moving and challenging myself and staying mentally and physically busy; it was tough going from my 8-5, fast-paced, corporate summer to a week of reading, puzzle-playing, hiking and lazing around. I discovered that I can’t nap the way I used to, and that I still like going to sleep by 10 pm. I found myself making lists of things that I had to do as soon as I came home in order to prepare for the move back down to DC this Thursday.

In short (jokes – this is a long post), maybe I’m a bad vacationer – but at least I know how to have a good, simple time. Better luck next year, right?

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