It’s been a week since I drove onto Mount Desert Island, my former home for 25 years, now my second home. That’s right, I have a second home in Southwest Harbor, Maine. When I owned Oz Books vacationers came in talking about their hikes, day-long excursions to Cranberry Island, or picnics at Wonderland in Acadia National Park. I envied them, never imagining that I too would have their summer freedom.
The summer after closing my bookstore in 1997, I finally had the time to go swimming at Mile Rock in Long Pond. A young family noticed me on the big rock next to them. “IS that Sheila out in nature?” Kim P. asked incredulously. “It’s the OZ lady!” her children called out.
I’ve come from Tucson for my annual three weeks away from my primary home. Here’s what I’ve been doing so far: walking around Wonderland and/or Ship Harbor, taking care of repairs/upgrades at my house and trying to rent it for the winter (always stressful), drinking wine and talking about writing with my poet friend Candice, hiking up Beech Mountain with Martha and Mary ( I brought the traditional turkey jerky all the way from Trader Joe’s in Tucson), reading “Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain” by David Eagleman, eating a lot of crabmeat — no lobster yet — but I’ll have some with my kids next week, gazing out my bedroom window at the harbor toward Somes Sound and the surrounding mountains (small compared to Tucson but probably the most gorgeous view on the island), drinking strong coffee and checking my email across the street from Seawall at the Common Good Cafe, taking one bike ride without a helmet — naughty me, reading “Life” by Keith Richards, having a shiatsu session with dear Kathleen and taking a stroll around sunny Bar Harbor afterward, eating jalapeno dark chocolate ice cream, renewing an annual women’s retreat with three smart/energetic writer/teacher friends, eating dinner at Maine-ly Delights in Bass Harbor by the Swan’s Island ferry, strolling along Shore Road behind my house gathering wildflowers, meeting the women’s group I helped start years ago for a drink at the elegant Claremont, keeping my distance from the old Oz Bookstore that I owned for 15 years that has since become a pseudo art gallery, attending the Summer Festival of the Arts Arthur Russell strings concert, sitting on the bench at the end of the Cranberry Island dock alone and with friends but not sipping brandy with Dan. He’s back in Tucson in the heat and the monsoon and his work.
Have I done enough yet?