Lonely and Lovely


---- Something there is about an island that appeals to some folks. Is it the feeling of self-sufficiency and independence? Or, perhaps, the safety of being separated from others and their problems by an expanse of water? A human brain can encompass a small island - it seems to fit nicely and succinctly within one skull. We can know every nook and cranny, every bird nest, every rock and tree. Here we can be insular, free from the eyes and judgments of other humans. Here the only law is our law; the only morality, one set by ourselves. On our 'rock,' we can defy the popular notion that "no man is an island; no man can stand alone."




They stand there - like silent sirens, studding the horizon, singing to our souls - beckoning, beguiling.

-----Maine has many islands - no one knows for sure their number. But, then, it is hard to define an island. What if that one is only dry land at low tide? What if this one is exposed only twice a month on the moon tides? - OK, what if this other one goes under once a decade in a powerful nor'easter? What if it is a single pinnacle of rock? OK, but what if the standing room is only big enough for a gull? - for a sparrow? Well, there are exactly (if you believe the computer that counted them, and I don't) - 4,617 islands studding the cold water of the Maine coast. More than all the rest of the Atlantic Coast of the US combined. The same computer says the coastline of Maine comprises 7,039 miles, of which 2,471 are island shores. If you love islands, you'll love coastal Maine.-


-----A boat is a very, VERY small island - many of our reasons for living aboard are those of islanders. Much of our time is spent with islanders - we are, in many aspects, kindred souls.

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-----Some few islands in Maine are occupied year-round, but even those have vast stretches of pine-covered wildness. Not wilderness - no, humans have been living on and fishing around them for perhaps twenty thousand years, give or take a few months. They have been much modified and altered, but, to today's Americans, many have the appearance of wilderness. The loneliness and isolation demand introspection - a fresh view of our individual place on this planet. Our self - our species - shrinks to nothingness. The cry of a solitary gull demands attention. There is a new meaning to the importance of the very word important. Time shrinks from the enormity of linear time encapsulated in 21st century American minds, to the circularity of a tidal cycle, or perhaps the diurnal cycle - to the lunar phase - at most, to a seasonal succession. Many of us who love islands, do so because they force us to redefine reality - and our individuality - with eternity.


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