Saturday, August 14, 2010

Jetlag, Lifelag

Oof. Has it really been a week since I returned from Maine? I've suffered some serious re-entry burns. After spending a week sitting and watching Casco Bay gently lap against against million-year old rocks and stirring myself only to dine with my companions on lobster, mussels, blueberry cobbler, and fresh corn, I've had trouble readjusting to Austin's million degree heat and regular poop pick-up.

You may recognize the feeling of having memories of a lovely time away tarnished by the too-early race to and through a busy airport, an interminable flight whose soundtrack is the full-throated screaming of small children, the ordeal of lost luggage, the arrival home to a stale, unair-conditioned house, and the trip to the kennel, where you slap down a credit card and pay the price of another airplane ticket. And what happens next? The kennel door opens and out bursts a skinny, frantic dog that has, you realize for the first time, an uncanny resemblance to a ferret, what with her bugged-out eyes and wet, pointy nose. This dog will not, for the next week, give you a moment's peace, but will follow you into the bathroom and lie under your desk and drop a soggy tennis ball at your feet any time you stop moving. Sigh. Meanwhile, you unpack and wash the mountain of dirty laundry and fold up all those annoying plastic bags and pry off and throw away the (apparently useless) airport stickers on your suitcase before stuffing it back in the closet. Then you plow through 100 e-mails before actually getting down to work. Work. I've been whining about not having enough of it lately, and now I've got some, and that means, well, working. Toiling, laboring, exerting, drudging. In my case, I spend my days with the ancient Egyptians. Those guys knew how to work. They treasured unity and treated cats like gods. They were at the top of their game for millennia. The unlucky ones literally busted and hauled rocks in order to build the largest structures the world had ever known until the twentieth century and the advent of steel and motorized vehicles. I'm just sitting in a chair under a ceiling fan.

Still, when all the dust and hot sun and laboring, both real and imagined, gets to me, I return to this video--one minute of time by the bay. You may need it, too. Just click and enjoy. It's Maine. It's 75 degrees and sunny and breezy. The lobstah boats are droning and the birds are calling. They say, "Come back and see us next year!" Enjoy. -z

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Maine Thing

I lived in Massachusetts for two years but never managed to get myself to Maine. So when two fellow Dog Parkers and their mums decided to head Downeast, I was on board. We took planes, trains, taxis, and ferry boats to reach a tiny island that had no cars and no stores but plenty of Yankees (and fellow Texans) and their dogs. The whole island was hardly bigger than Dog Park, but it was quiet and green--also mostly mosquito free.

For the better part of a week, I sat on this rock and looked at this view.

Occasionally, I would stroll around the island--a half hour's exertion. As at Dog Park, there were plenty of conveniently placed dog water bowls as well as signage that will strike you all as familiar.

The Casino was a common building down by the dock. As far as I know, the gambling at the Casino is limited to geezer poker nights. In fact, the place is extremely family-friendly. Our whole crew was invited to the weekly Saturday night dinner at the Casino. Every week, several families cook for the entire island. We enjoyed excellent antipasto and manicotti. Alas, no dogs were allowed at dinner. And, because I was a guest, I did not use Stacey's Sharpie to correct the misplaced apostrophes on the dogs' bowls.

The dogs I met were all well behaved, even the ones on the ferries. (Dogs require their own tickets if they were not in carry-on bags or crates.)

Dogs were not so welcome on a neighboring island, which we could reach by foot when the tide was low. Stacey and I trekked halfway around that larger island only to be confronted by this unfriendly sign: "Dogs and other pets are not permitted." The purveyors of a restaurant on this island also overcharged us for lunch.

So we left and never went back. We returned to our tiny island and watched the world pass us by.