A hill of gray, white, black, pink, and purplish marbled stone slopes from the foot of a tall white guardian and down into the chill, foamy waters of Maine, painted now by a masterful artist in the sky who is currently traveling downward to the horizon.
This hill of stone rolls and has slices taken from it, and there are holes and curves carved in its face from the gentle kisses of the sea that slowly make an influence over time. Some of the pock-marks are big as my fist, others have developed into cozy caves in which children hide and share secrets.
The tinkling of children’s laughter holds hands with the cries of the gulls and the whispers of the water across the stones. While the children dance and play and explore, the adults sit quietly, listening, their eyes far away. Watching them, I know that they are thinking, trying to find the meaning in the whispers of the waves and foam. What is the water saying? And perhaps, I wonder, the adults are truly trying to find the meaning of their lives in those murmurings.
There is more than just that hill though, the slope at the foot of the lighthouse whose friendly lantern guides the ships.
Off to the right of the hill, if one’s back is to the lighthouse, is a short stretch of gritty beach, and then more stone slopes that resemble half a stadium. It is here that he and I make our way, carefully picking over the nooks and crannies that wait to snare our vulnerable ankles. He and I, we are caught somewhere between child and adult, so we play and explore, and then we watch and contemplate. Our playful and whimsical nature is constantly overshadowed by a sense of seriousness and nostalgia, a mysterious itch we cannot scratch.
As the sun prepares to pass his torch onto the moon, his artwork becomes increasingly stunning. Beneath endless skies of tranquil fire I build my own artworks for this place to remember me by. Zen-like sculptures made with pleasant, water-smoothed stones of all sizes and colors. I know eventually the sculptures will be scattered after I leave, perhaps by a storm, but I hope the cliffs and water will feel the phantoms of my fingers on the stones and remember my brief presence as I will remember this place for all my life.
One image I recall specifically from this day is glancing over at him while I was amidst the construction of one of my stone pieces. He was sprawled across a long rectangular rock slab, his soft eyelids gently closed and the pink and oranges of the sunset alighted on is fair skin. I remember thinking how peaceful he looked in that quiet secret moment when he was unaware of my gaze. His heart, so elusive sometimes, had become his face. His features expressed all the colors and shadows and hopes and whims usually hidden within him. Above all, he exuded pure, untamed joy, and I knew that he was home. Here, in the half-wild, breathtaking territories of Maine, is where his spirit roams and his dreams take shape.
That moment is how I like to remember him, as I viewed him in the utmost peace beneath a cascading sky and on the shores of the soft, elusive Main sea. When I recall that place, and how we were then, I know I can never regret all that occurred between us when we were caught together somewhere between childhood and adulthood.