Yesterday I had an epiphany. I was sitting on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean and eating my lunch--the last lobster roll of the season--and watching the waves roll in across massive cuts of granite when I realized with sudden certainty that I really, really, really love the state of Maine. The love grabbed me in the throat, seized me around the neck, and nearly squeezed the life out of me. Everything is just so damn beautiful here. The rocks and the sky and the ocean. The brick buildings and the cobblestone streets and harbors filled with ships.
And it's not just the surroundings; it's the people, too. I really love the people of Maine. They are hardy and hairy, tough and unapologetic. Their beloved fashion statements involve steel-toe boots and rat-tails. They love Boston sports teams but mock Massachusetts. They know what to do if they meet a bear or a moose in the woods. They are plain spoken. If they don't understand you, if they think you're silly, if they wonder just what the hell you're up to, they're going to tell you. They make soups and chowders that are so buttery it feels like you're swallowing velvet when you take a bite. And, of course, they've got stupid, brilliant, beautiful accent that makes me cringe, makes me laugh.
And me? I'm getting better at it. Just the other day I had my first real wicked. It came out of nowhere--just showed up in something I was exclaiming--and afterward I felt a dizzy rush come up the back of my spine. It was, after all, the first time I'd said the word in the way Mainers say it: "WICKED!!" instead of "wicked." I was pretty proud of myself. I guess it's finally starting to sink in. I'm here. In Maine. This is where I live. For real. And my God am I lucky.