I’ve lived in Maine for nine years this month (not including my college years). I adore this state. The landscape, the extent of outdoor activities at my fingertips, the people and the food are all things that make me appreciate the quality of life here. And yet. You knew there was a “but” coming, didn’t you? Well, the thing is, this is not my home. Mainers will tell you you’re not a real Mainer unless you were born here, or if they’re being really hard core, if your parents and maybe even your grandparents were also born here. I was born on Long Island (New York, that is), but from the time I was four until I went away to college I lived in Sharon, Conn., a small town of about 3,000 in the northwest corner of the state, near both the New York and Massachusetts borders, an area also known as the Berkshire Hills. This countryside is my home. I can say that with certainty.
My parents still live in the house I grew up in, but between life obligations and a not insignificant drive, we don’t get there very often. More than a year passed between our most recent visits, largely due to our dog’s terminal illness. I feel an almost physical longing for this area when I have been away too long. When I get there, I want to spend as much time as possible outside, as if by being in the forests, fields and mountains and beside the rivers, streams and lakes of my childhood, I can soak up and store the experience until the next time when the batteries can be recharged. It is one of those rare places that has remained largely untouched by big box stores and hideous housing developments. It is still teeming with wildlife and plant life (my parents no longer have a bird feeder out due to the bear population). It is the place that instilled in me a lifelong love of the outdoor world. When people ask me what it’s near I tend to reply “nothing.” And it’s true. I think of it as removed from the rest of the world. I hope it will always be that way.
Below are some mementos from my recent outdoor expeditions in this extraordinarily beautiful place I’m lucky enough to think of as home. (Sorry, I got a little carried away with the long exposure water shots!)