Tidepoolin’ in Maine

Why not begin the journey at the very top of the country in “vacationland,” otherwise known as Maine. Sure, I’d been there probably hundreds of times before (as I have a great deal of family up there) but that’s no reason to ignore it on this epic journey. Besides I had a place to stay and could wander at my will without having to return four hours home. Granted that’s four hours if you speed like a demon and don’t listen to the GPS which will take this opportunity to wind you around strange routes and make sure you can’t remember your way back up there. Secrets.

I hadn’t been on the road long when I noticed a horse lying on its side in the pasture. I’d never seen a horse lie on its side and it didn’t look like it was breathing. I wondered if it was alive or dead. Either way its pasture mates seemed unalarmed as I drove by.

When I came to from my daydreaming I found myself at the swankiest gas station I had ever seen. It had high ceilings, wide isles, and off to the sides it has its own gourmet deli and bakery. It was very white and clean and the whole front of the store was windowed like it was some sort of fancy high-rise or something. The products here ranged from the routine to the strange, with Grandma’s Homemade Applesauce sitting in Mason jars near the counter. Apparently candy bars are not tempting enough to the regular crowd here, only organic applesauce made by a vague old woman could provide the temptation needed for one last sale! It was weird. Never did I expect to find a gas station in combination with anything labeled, “gourmet.”

I’ll admit from the get-go that I was extremely tired all day having had two nights of really dreadful sleep so I was struggling to keep my eyes open, not wanting to fall asleep.  By the time I hit Kennebunk and decided to drive off into it I was really trying not to nod off and finding it increasingly difficult. I was however startled awake by one house I passed which had to have been the butt ugliest house I have ever seen. It was enormous, with a Victorian base and turret that had apparently been added to, much to the house’s great displeasure. Instead of having a normal amount of Victorian trim it was garishly decorated with a trim that seemed to ooze off the house, nearly touching itself it was so wide, heavy, and gobbed everywhere in sight, almost like a wedding cake that’s been left out in the sun. To the side of the house was a large second part with three medieval looking archways stretching up two floors and creating the most bizarre garage I have ever seen in my life, as if they just reclaimed an old cathedral or something and tacked it half-hazardly onto the house. If this clashing architecture wasn’t bad enough the whole thing was painted the most god-awful dark blue green, the sort of color you might find on a misprint army fatigue and hugging that from all sides was the off-white trim and the spikes jutting up from the rooftop. This was the house with someone with no tastes or respect for aesthetically pleasing art whatsoever. I wondered if this mad person knew their home looked like something that should be a special feature on Cake Wrecks. It seemed to be melting.

I meandered onward until I found a beach and I figured a nice walk on a blustery beach would wake me up a bit. Blustery was not a word that would cut it. I felt like I’d just walked into a bucket of dry ice. Wind whipped around me so hard that I could have sworn I saw a woman on a bicycle fly over the beach followed by some suspenseful music, dun dun dun dun nun! Besides being cold this beach offered lots of sand, no shells, and a superfluous gathering of dog poo, but even so it was pretty! The waves came crashing in one after another and were as blue as could be.. Even so I decided to move on. A little down the road I saw some cragged rocks jutting out into the ocean so I decided to go tide pooling. Though this place was within sight of the last beach it was so much more interesting! At the top there were two little benches and a little circular mosaic under them. The plaque there said this little place was dedicated to some town worker, perhaps a clerk or secretary, I can’t remember. The rocks beyond were hugged by a massive clump of gnarled, half-decayed seaweed. Amongst the greenery could be seen bits of things that once lived in them. After poking at one particularly strange bit of something I walked out to the rocks. It was less windy than the open beach and nestled amongst the crevices were numerous little tide pools all teaming with snails of every type and guarded by one obese sea gull sleepily perched at its highest point.  Upon closer inspection there was algae, bits of crabs eaten by the birds, and a number of smaller sea plants. Then in some little dried puddles I found all sorts of tiny shells and bits of bleached coral as well as fragments of driftwood. The farther I went out the more beautiful the scenery got. Though I was very cold, and very tired, I liked this spot and could see myself sitting here in quiet meditation for hours, completely content. It was time to move on though, to go to the famed Biddeford Tide Pool.

I had been to Biddeford as a ten year old. I stayed for a week at a camp with my new school chums. I hated almost every minute and wrote home every day, “I know you probably won’t get this letter until Wednesday but could you please bring me home?? I hate it here! It’s cold and I am roomed with a bed wetter and two catty bitches who hate me!” the next day, “I know you won’t get this letter until Thursday but please come get me. One day away from this place would be just reward for dealing with all these damn kids.. and my camp counselor who says ‘sweet’ every other word and annoys the shit out of me.” On Wednesday I knew the game was over. “So I know by the time you read this letter I’ll probably be on the bus home. Thanks a lot. I still hate it here.” You’d think I’d give up after that but I decided to use Thursday and Friday for guilt letters. “I know you can’t pick me up anymore but I sill hate it here, just thought you should know.” I made my opinion also known to my school. We were forced to keep diaries and tell our favorite part of each day. On Monday and Friday I stated the best part of the day was the bus ride.

So if I hated camp so much why on earth would I want to go back to one of its highlights? Because the Biddeford tide pools were actually very interesting at low tide. You could see all sorts of neat little wee beasties living in the estuaries and rock pools. I guess the place is renowned for bird watchers too. Funny how I didn’t remember the whole place is absolutely infested with crazy mansions, private properties, and signs reading, “no parking” every three feet. We did find a place for 10 or so cars to park, all oddly empty, with a sign stating it was for permitted cars only… We looked longingly out at the shore we couldn’t reach. It still looked interesting… and familiar. I spotted the little bridge my murderous ten year old mind told me to lob one of my feral peers off of. I didn’t. Sort of regret that now. The kid deserved it.

Anyways…. By this time I was tired to the point I was almost hallucinating trying to keep my eyes open, hungry, had a stomach ache, and was cranky to boot. “Lets give up and just go get something to eat.” I was asked what we should get… As usual I didn’t care and this set off my boyfriend’s new game of making me decide on something, anything, based on my own wants and opinions. This game is torturous because I fail to have wants or opinions to begin with when it comes to things as inconsequential as what to eat for lunch. I really wasn’t in the mood for this.

We ended up at a non-existent pizza place. I think it was called TJ’s Fifties Pizza Joint or something similarly tacky. I’m pretty sure it was closed, my boyfriend thought we tried the wrong door, either way we both went into the Jeep and darted across a suicidal intersection into a parking lot the size of a refrigerator box. It was Papa Johns. I have never been, and taking one look at their topping board I decided I still didn’t want to be. What a weird list! I think the only thing I could identify and knew I liked was cheese. That seemed retarded to order a cheese pizza so we ended up walking out. I was getting super cranky, trying to hold it back, and my boyfriend was getting a head ache from the blinding glare of the sun we had been driving into all day. By the time we ended up at Burger King we both just wanted to sit down and chill. Food! Glorious food! And Tylenol.

Both feeling better we wandered out of there ready to go hit some other beaches now it was low tide. We ended up at Old Orchard Beach… which apparently in the colder months is a really creepy ghost town of sorts with closed up sea food shacks on every corner and an amusement park filled with stationary rides just creaking in the breeze. The beaches here were beyond the rides and the touristy bullshit and were composed all of sand. The waves were tepidly lolling in the distance. Finally we found a beach that seemed to be just that, a beach, no silly gimmicks. It was completely devoid of shells and dogs ran loose everywhere, ecstatic to be out on the sand. I found a single shell sitting alone in the dirt far up the beach. This place was boring! We left.

At 8PM we arrived at the house we were to be staying. It was quiet, so intensely quiet. We were both exhausted but too stubborn to go to sleep at the same hour the people in the old folks’ home do. Today we’ve been to the local Wal-Mart for some grub. I have no harrowing stories to tell of that so I guess Ill leave off here.

If you enjoy my blog please consider helping me fund my lifelong dream of having an educational farm and check out my GoFundMe. Thank you! https://www.gofundme.com/help-fund-an-educational-farm



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