Flying home to Tucson from my home in Southwest Harbor, Maine, I’m sipping on Bailey’s Irish Cream on the rocks, wified on board this Southwest Airlines flight west. I’ve been east — down east — for three weeks.
Who said “you can’t go home again?” Nearly nine years ago I added another home to my life. I’m lucky to have two homes that suit me so well. Yesterday in Southwest Harbor I could feel myself heading west again. As much as I love my Southwest Harbor home/community of more than 30 years, I was mostly ready to leave. I’m reading “Incognito: The Secret Lives of the Brain” by David Eagleman, and I’m learning how our conscious mind merely illuminates the headlines of our daily lives. Amazing how seamlessly all those neurons underneath the headlines do their job.
I’ve been thinking about how we’re developmentally ready for the different stages in our lives, how I’m glad to be getting older, calming down. I’m still ravenously curious about the world but am intent on not stressing out about it. Maybe the best years of my life will be from 66 to 70 — social security (if it still exists next year), seeing the lavender fields of Provence, reading at my leisure?
I’m finally pleased with myself, which has taken a long time and hasn’t been easy. My Maine poet friend Candice told me what a perfect image it was to watch mama me sitting between Brook and Ethan in front of a 1972 poster of George McGovern on my sunporch, sipping wine, eating a perfect Maine summer dinner of grilled halibut, asparagus, tomato wedges. Shared memories perked up the conversation as tourist cars passed by on their way to Seawall Road campgrounds, a glimmering full moon rose outside the window, and one or two pesky mosquitoes bit the dust.
It was a very special time in Southwest Harbor this year. Brook launched her first book, “Paradise Lust: Searching for the Garden of Eden,” at the Southwest Harbor Public Library. Nearly everyone there knew her when we went to the library and as a four-year-old, she would choose a stack of books. Candy Emlen, now the library director, started working at the library in the late 1980s doing her final project in my College of the Atlantic class, “Teaching Social Issues through Children’s Literature.” She introduced me to introduce Brook, referring to me as a very special person in the community who had done so much for literacy by starting Oz Books in our little town. My big story, “The Heyday of Children’s Literature,” came out in this week’s Publishers Weekly.
And I got my hair cut really short to let the gray grow in faster. I’m not sure what I’m trying to say, but hey, I’m 38,000 feet above ground, having woven lovely threads of my life together.