We did not climb Borestone Mountain. Instead, we drove to the coast and hiked on Sears Island, a charming shabby little preserve linked by a causeway to the town of Searsport. Searsport has a beautiful deep harbor, so for years the state government has been trying to figure out how to transform Sears Island into an industrial site. Various ideas have been mooted: nuclear power station, natural gas depot, container ship port, those sorts of things. In the 1970s E. B. White wrote an essay in the New Yorker defending the island against such encroachments, and there has been powerful local opposition to development. So in the end, none of these plans took root; and since 2009, the island has been conservation land.
It was amazing to me that on a holiday weekend, at the height of leaf tourism season, in the center of bustling midcoast Maine, Tom and I were the only people walking on this beach. But Maine can be funny that way. The wind blew, hard and steady. We watched seagulls swirl into the gusts and drop mussels onto the rocks below. We peered into caves in the cliff. In the woods behind the beach Tom discovered a cache of hen-in-the-woods mushrooms. Salt stiffened our hair. I pretended to fly.
* * *
Geoffrey Hill readers: Our next poem will be "Merlin," and later this week Carlene will post some first thoughts and questions about it. In the meantime, you might want to check out the new comments about "The White Ship."