Happy new year to all the great staff members and readers of The Lincoln County News!
The following was written from my journal notes on Jan. 1, 1986, when we lived on our Bristol farm:
The 12-month circle had reached a new beginning: a time of new calendars, new diary, fresh resolves, and the turning of “new leaves.” We find ourselves at a pinnacle of looking forward to the fulfillment of plans, the magic of the unexpected, and bright hopes for the new year. There is also nostalgia for the year just passed.
Down deeply, I have a little trouble with greeting the stroke of midnight on the new year as the greatest thing ever happening. How do I know it will be? To me, there is a certain reluctance to let the old year go. It had begun to fit well and, for no reason, to seem predictable. No day in life is, so this feeling was unfounded, but the happy days of 1985 made me feel safe within its boundaries.
Perhaps this slight sense of regret is because I have put away an old friend, a companion who stores the daily events of the last five years, mundane and milestone alike. The pages of these years have been filled with not one missing. Now there is a new diary waiting with shining covers and stark blank pages. It contains no beloved poems or richly satisfying quotes pasted to its spare pages. It is cold and empty. But then I have felt that about each new diary many times. By the second year, it will start becoming friendly.
Since my early youth, I have kept a five-year diary, and along with photographs, it is the most memory enriching record I know of. Events I had completely forgotten become vividly alive because our memories faithfully record all that happens to us; we just need to press the right reminder to bring all back into focus again.
1985 for us was beautiful right through its last day, when it provided a special gift. We spent two hours of the waning afternoon on the spindrift-covered shore of Pemaquid Point being part of the Northeaster that brought tons of lead gray and ultramarine seawater booming and crashing onto the craggy, stone-jawed ledges whose foaming waterfalls from the previous wave never finished pouring off before becoming drowned again.
Although there had been many people there throughout the exciting day to share this splendor, we happened to be completely alone on that long stretch of ragged rock and violent tumblings of stone, surging breakers, and wild salt-laden wind.
So might two people feel as we did who were just discovering a new world overpowering in the force of its elements, alone but strong, wanting to stay and challenge this fearsome and glorious clash between sea and shore with the defiance that has always been man’s primal response to nature. The wind is cold but sweet, the salt spray sharp and delicious. The body is nearly numb with the misted blasting of wet surf, but how can we leave now just when the biggest seas yet are pounding in, translucent aqua under their massive curving tops?
The show is far from over, but passion wanes with chill and the falling darkness, and thoughts of dry clothes and the fireplace. Though they have a few more scars, we know the battle of wind and sea with the shore will again be won by the stoic spruce and granite.
Climbing our way back to the truck, there was the deeply satisfying feeling that has recurred so often through the years: where else could we live so happily among fine neighbors, and yet be free enough to be completely alone on one of the most beautiful lengths of coast in the world during one of its splendid upheavals?
The next day, cobalt-blue sea smiled lazily in the pale winter sun as though it had never been a raging tyrant just the day before. Instead of being yesterday’s discoverers of a savagely beautiful new planet, we were eagerly awaited by some very domesticated woolies who wanted their breakfast of Aroostook oats and Bristol hay.