“I have come home at last! This is my real country! I belong here. This is the land I have been looking for all my life, though I never knew it till now…Come further up, come further in!”
― C.S. Lewis, The Last Battle
“Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden
“The truth is, until you know any different, the island is enough.
Actually, I know different. And it’s still enough.”
― Maggie Stiefvater, The Scorpio Races
This morning was cold and crisp, and The Artist and I luxuriated in the smell of the air as we sat on the deck enjoying the morning light and steaming mugs of hot coffee.
It’s been a little over two years since we moved to this beautiful island paradise off the coast of Maine. Despite it only being two years, this place feels more like home than anywhere else I have lived.
But more than it feeling like home, we have become “at home” on the island as well. We are learning her nuances – her natural rhythms. The daily changes in ocean tides and how that impacts where and when we hike. Sunrise and sunset and how much light we have around those two times on a daily basis. The night time stars. The neighborhood crows and blue jays and how they speak to each other. The wild mushrooms and plants and what grows where and when and more importantly, is it edible? The hidden trails and marked trails and which are our favorites (which changes on the time of year) and how long it takes to hike them.
It was such a beautiful day, that we decided to hike one of our favorite trails up Gorham Mountain. This trail winds its way through granite passes…
…and has some of the most interesting rock formations.
One of the great things about this trail, is that a part of it is dotted with small sea caves. Even those these are around 230 feet above sea level, they show how in our geological past the sea level was much higher than it is now!
I had to climb up and check out this spot!
Sure enough, there was a small cave here. Since The Artist loves going inside these little hidden treasures, she scampered up to check it out.
This one went in quite a way, but she popped out again so we could continue our hike.
In places, the rocks actually hang over the trail, giving you the impression that they could come crashing down on top of you …. We feel right at home here!
I love this spot on the trail where a few old iron rungs are set in the granite face to help you climb up!
After a steady climb, the trail pops out on top with amazing views all around.
The Artist sat on the edge as usual to soak in the view and the late afternoon sun.
I love the views from up here and how the trees are already showing off their brilliant color changes.
We got back to the car around 5:30 and knowing that sunset was at 6:04, we decided to drive up to Cadillac Mnt. to catch the sun as it set and to do a meditation in a quiet spot that we know that has a great view and no people!
The mountain summit was crawling with people and there was hardly any place to park. Watching the sun set on Cadillac is a favorite thing for the visitors to do, even this late in the year. Standing elbow to elbow with a bunch of strangers taking pictures is not our idea of time well spent. Fortunately, we know where the people don’t go and were soon on the trail. Here is the view that greeted us as we ran down the trail….
We could just see the setting sun through the trees to the west.
We arrived at our spot just as the sun slid behind the western horizon……
…… and we sat in absolute silence as the light faded, the colors changed and the temperature dropped!
We both settled into our meditation, feeling the presence of those who came before and the energy of this mountain that sits on an island and catches the first sunlight on the East Coast. By the time we were through, it was well after sunset and only a faint bit of night skylight showed us the way back. We brought a flashlight but decided to make our way back over the granite ridge trail in the dark and let our instincts lead us home.
We arrived back at the car in almost total darkness, well over an hour after the sun slipped away. As we drove down the winding road, the distant lights of Bar Harbor could be seen.
A late night dinner of popcorn and a movie are on order after some quiet reflection on just what being “at home” really means. The temperature has dropped to 39 degrees and we know that soon, our island home will shed the last vestige of summer and embrace the stark quiet and beauty of winter. While a part of us feels sadness about that in a way, we also know that it is a time of few people, long hikes where Edog can run free, quiet nights in front of the fire and night skies filled with billion of shiny point of distant stars.
This, this is truly home.