I have a lot to write about. Nothing big. Nothing life changing.
This has been a slow summer, one taken day by day, moments at a time. Now that Matt is home from Afghanistan, I’m remembering what it’s like to be in a relationship. Now that my book is almost done, I’m remembering what it’s like to take time away from work. This summer I’m trying to concentrate on the small stuff, the tiny things – the smells and tastes; recipes and meals; the best pulled pork sandwich I’ve ever had, last week at a roadside diner in East Tennessee. But it’s been more than a year since I’ve written regularly here on the blog, and I find myself unable to sit down at my desk, open my computer, and simply begin. It’s all about taking small steps, I suppose.
To start: Matt and I rented a tiny cabin on the coast of Maine for one week in July. We hiked mountainous trails in Acadia National Park, and bicycled miles and miles around the seascapes of Schoodic Point, which smelled of salt, sea and pine.
In the evenings we drank whiskey while sitting on our porch, reading books and watching the sun as it went down over the bay. Sometimes I cooked in our miniature kitchen: pastas with sausage and kale, frittatas with onions and peppers and Gruyere. Other nights we went out for lobsters or lobster rolls, fried oysters or fish and chips. There was a lot of vanilla soft ice cream and a couple of blueberry-flavored beers.
One day we drove north on Route 1 to Lubec, Maine, the eastern most point in the continental United States. We stopped at the lighthouse at West Quoddy Head. It was dark with fog and cold with the ocean breeze. I felt like I was standing at the edge of the Earth.
Later, we ate turkey sandwiches with mustard and Swiss cheese while sitting on our car, overlooking the sea. We shared an oatmeal cookie – one studded with wild blueberries and a soft sugar cream, which we had purchased that morning at a neon-blue, dome-like building called “Wild Blueberry Land” on the side of the road.
The cookie was nondescript—a medium sized oval, brown with sugar and blue with berry juice. But it tasted so unexpectedly good that I stared at it, distrustful for a moment. It was tender and moist, spiked with cinnamon and nutmeg, perfect-fruit sweet. It reminded me of a blueberry crisp, a huckleberry buckle, a cookie I once ate at a State Fair near my aunt’s summer home in Pennsylvania.
On our way home we stopped at Wild Blueberry Land again to buy more. But the tray on which the cookies sat before was empty except for a piece of parchment paper and a few stray lines of grease. We asked for the recipe at the counter and watched as a young baker wrote it out on the piece of notebook paper now sitting crumpled in my bag. Back in Boston, I keep telling myself to bake them. But I haven’t yet, and I’m not sure I will.
I’m afraid that was a moment that belonged only there, on the wind-swept coast of Maine.