I’m always carrying on about the incomparable beauty of Eastport and Downeast Maine but today I rediscovered the unreserved friendliness, impromptu gaiety, and unabashed happiness that is life in Eastport.
After an outrageous number of back to back days of fog and rain, the sun made its grand appearance at long last.
I donned my flip flops and a pair of sunglasses and down the sea path I went, a stiff breeze coming from the west, sunlight bouncing crazily off the water, and I was filled with the indescribable happiness which can only be achieved after innumerable days of cold rain and dense fog.
Families and couples gathered around the picnic tables outside Quoddy Bay Lobster with platters of cherry red lobsters and small mountains of steamers. Plastic bibs snapped like sails in the breeze, the sound of laughter snatched and carried off by the wind.
The mood was high on Water Street as I watched a man standing in the bed of a pickup truck playing an upright piano, belting out whatever tunes came into his head. I’m fairly certain the piano was destined for someplace else, but the impromptu performance stopped everyone in their tracks and made us smile.
I visited a local artisan shop and wound up spending nearly an hour conversing with the artist about the economy, lay-offs, and the endless possibilities the future holds. The artist was unknown to me, and I to him, but the conversation flowed, the atmosphere was relaxed.
Although his paintings, carvings, and pottery were impressive, I didn’t have a dime to spend (three more days until payday) but the conversation was real… and the sun was shining.
I wandered to a store that carries local crafts and admired a pair of lavender woolen socks with lupines knit into the sides. I have been planning to buy a pair or two and had to check to make sure they had plenty on offer for when payday arrives (three more days, but who’s counting?)
I struck up a conversation with the woman working behind the counter about Christmas, our families, and old postcards. We don’t know one another but it didn’t matter; the rain and fog were gone, even if only for a day.
Tourists were out and the locals were milling around, talking and laughing in the middle of sidewalks, outside of restaurants, greeting one another as if a year, instead of a week, had passed.
I don’t know a lot of people here yet, but there is a rapport between pet owners and many people recognize me because of my beastly, ghastly, overexcited terrier and my tag-a-long feline Midge.
Over and over I heard, “Where are Molly and Midge today?”
Like a parent feeling guilty about leaving the kids at home, I explained even I need a solo walk from time to time. And so the conversation continued about pets, antiques and home improvement projects until I realized that, I too, was one of the locals milling about in doorways, smiling in the afternoon sun.
Never underestimate the power of a gorgeous day to bring out the joy in your fellow man.
Take the time to rediscover the art of real and relaxed conversation, you just might end up learning something new or meeting someone new.
Stop and listen to the music, or better yet, be the guy standing in the back of a pickup playing a piano.
Walking home with the sun on my face and the wind in my hair, I realized that this is happiness, this is Eastport, and this is truly the way life should be.