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  • Yesterday, I left the rolling farm hills of interior Waldo County and headed toward the coast.
    I was driving to the Airport in Bangor.
    The approach to Bangor from the Bay begins along the side of the Penobscot River, and then makes a sharp turn at Frankfort, into Winterport.
    The seasons move quickly here on the East Coast and there was little time to linger over the naming of things. Winterport was the last open port in the winters. All goods continuing along to Bangor were off-loaded from the ships there.

    Fall light took the late afternoon shadows and stretched them out into long ribbons that sliced up the landscape, light, dark, light, dark, like Morse code.
    It is an up hill climb from the coast towards Bangor but you do not get to see the fruits of your progress until the return trip. Then the views of the Penobscot Bay open up and the climb down along the stony blueberry hills also becomes a journey out.

    I was going to meet my brother who was arriving from 86-degree weather in Austin and recently returned from the oceans of grasslands in the Texas Panhandle. He works in a region known as the Southern High Plains, south of the Canadian River. In a week of fieldwork he drives about 2000 miles as he monitors water in the playa. There is not enough water in Texas.

    I drove through the clusters of towns where the road along the river makes sense until the man made snarl that looped me off of the two-lane road and onto an old fashioned highway, a dual-carriageway, then onto a modern highway, and finally to a cluster of roads terminating in malls and an airport.
    The transition offends the senses for those who are aesthetically sensitized.

    While I waited at the gate, I took pictures of the hundreds of stickers placed on glass to commemorate the troops returning from the Gulf War. People volunteer to greet the returning troops, make them welcome, and prepare them for the transition from armed combat to modern America.

    The drive back down to the coast was into a long dusk that colored the horizon vivid yellow in the clear, chilled air.
    The previous days’ snow had been rained away into tiny clumps. The menace of winter had backed off so that we can locate missing gloves, extra hats and thick socks.

    We talked in the car, my brother and I, in the growing darkness the words came easily. Memories mixed with current events during the descent from the hills, to the place where the river mouth joins the ocean and, to the town where my parents are waiting.

    The phrase I have turned over, often, in my mind comes back, that “Part of love is timing,” and there in the car we remembered all the other times we were picked up at the airport by my parents at various holidays. We pieced the chronology together, was that first time in 1980? We asked each asked the other.

    There was a Christmas vacation when I returned from London and we drove in the dark along the road banked by snow, and I did not know the landmarks or the beauty of the land we passed through. London was still clamoring in my head, the double busses, their river, the Thames and their ancient edifices were all gone.
    The trip, along the road in the summers, was filled with impatience, where if it was not Gott’s Island then we were not there yet. The beauty of the towns had been squandered on my immature eyes. My Father drove the back road and pointed out the farms and the orchards that I did not yet, truly, see.

    Yesterday I drove in the gloaming, with my brother.
    I know that moment is one I will remember.
    Through it lies a gateway to all the other times we have driven, along that road, along that river and looked out towards the Bay.

    Epilogue:
    I took my brother to my parent’s house where dinner was being prepared and a cat needed a lap.
    After the greetings and the settling in I left for my house.
    But first, I made a small detour into town where I lingered on the sidewalks, held by the lights of the stores, open and closed.
    I got out of the car and walked with my camera as a voyeur and adventurer.
    I was seeing the town with the feeling, no, the knowledge, that I live here now. There, in the early evening darkness where people gathered in the restaurants for meals and lined up for the movie, I felt love and timing click into place like a tumbler on a lock before it opens.
    It is my home now, this place we return to.
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