ordinary wonders, ii.

We gathered with others
to admire the sunset,
from the western face of Cadillac Mountain
looking out over the sheen of Eagle Lake,
and Bubble, Breakneck and Witch Hole Ponds,
and the Eastern and Western and Union River Bays
all glistening like pale ice against the darker shorelines and ridgelines.

We gathered with others
to look up at the night sky,
lying on our backs on Sand Beach
looking north—away from the waves rolling in
with a Park Ranger identifying
the Big and the Little Dippers, of course,
the North Star and the Summer Triangle straddling the Milky Way,
and Cygnus the swan in the full glory of widespread wings—
not just its abbreviated Northern Star,
and Draco, the dragon, slithering through the far northern sky,
the Southern Crown, Cassiopeia and Cepheus—
the distant lights and the ancient stories of the dark night sky.

We gathered with others
to dig in the sand—back on Sand Beach, but now in the morning,
to learn about sand composition,
and what lay beneath the sand,
and how waves took sand out (erosion),
and how waves brought sand in (deposition),
and how one storm five years ago took all the sand away!

We gathered with others
to watch for birds—
on the shores of Echo Lake
looking across the waters at the cliffs of Beech Mountain
to the nests of peregrine falcons, fastest animals on earth
(reaching speeds of up to 200 to 250 miles per hour in their dives!),
and on the deck of a boat—
out of Frenchman Bay into the waters of the Atlantic
looking back at the rocky shoreline of Mount Desert Island
and the bald eagles high in the trees—
gliding over the waters.

We gathered with others
to ride bikes—
to take the shuttle into Acadia from the Village Green
to the shores of Eagle Lake,
there to follow the carriage roads
(designed and built by John D. Rockefeller, Jr.)
around the lake—
almost six miles of what were described as rolling hills,
but seemed more challenging than that to us!

We gathered with others
to eat ice cream—
at Froyos in Amherst,
and Flo’s Country Farmstand on Schultz’s farm in Rutland,
and Ben and Bill’s in Bar Harbor,
and Sundaes at the Beach in Wells,
and Goose Rocks Dairy outside Kennebunkport.

We gathered with others
in bookstores—
at Amherst Books in Amherst,
and at Sherman’s Book and Stationery Shop,
the oldest book store in Maine, in Bar Harbor,
and at Kennebooks in Kennebunkport,
and we browsed and we read and we bought.

“What did you do for vacation?”

“Ah, well, we admired the sunset;
we looked up at the night sky;
we dug in the sand;
we watched for birds;
we rode bikes;
we ate ice cream;
we browsed bookstores.

It was amazing!”


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