Maine has always been my nature escape. The place where I would go to recharge after the frenetic pace of city living began to take its toll. And, while much has been written about the connection between nature and the psychological and physiological effects on humans, as an avowed city dweller, I never paid much attention to these assertions. Since moving to South Africa though, I have reflected upon this more and more perhaps because I believe one of primary contributors to why I am happy living here is that I more regularly trade the tarred roads, lights, and distant mechanical noises of the city for the peaceful din of the bushveld.
Looking back on my life in Washington, DC, I used my weekend nature escapes to Maine as a palliative for the stress of living in an extremely urban environment. Arriving by plane in Portland, I would feel my body relax and my mind ease. By the time we reached our house on the coast, I felt as though I had found my center again. Maine has that effect on nearly everyone I know. Of all the places I have visited, this one is my favorite.
My Maine agenda consisted of my favorite things – dining at Eventide Oyster Co. for lunch and Fore Street for dinner in Portland, sundownders on our dock, and walking through the woods surrounding the house all with two of my favorite people – my parents. Despite being mid-October, thus prime leaf peeping season, the trees surrounding the house had only barely started turning yellow, orange, and red. The weather was glorious and warm for the time of year. It was perfect. Being in Maine, I realized why some of my other trips to the U.S. felt less than satisfying. Maine is home and no trip to the United States feels complete without some time staring at the ocean view from our house.