I don't often get the chance to slow down to a complete stop. Not many days with no schedule, no commitments, nothing that has to be accomplished. A whole TEN days of that? a gift. a precious, precious gift.
I have had the privilege of traveling to several different countries over the past several years, spending time with missionaries and helping out in small ways in the time we had together. I have loved these trips, and the view they have given me of life in another country, among a people of a different culture, and the joys of learning to live in such places, and the struggles faced by being people who love the Lord living not just "in the world" where we are already a peculiar people, but in a wholly different and often strange world where the language and the food and the public transportation system and the marketplaces all conspire against you to label you "foreign." That might be the longest sentence I've ever written. Eat your heart out, Paul!
Most of those travels left little time for true relaxation. Though I welcomed the change from my normal day-to-day life, and that in and of itself offered a certain kind of refreshment, I have not in many years had the time to spend several days together of doing just what I wanted to do, when I wanted to do it.
It was fun being a tourist in America. I didn't have to calculate currency exchange rates in my mind every time I pondered a purchase, I didn't have to figure out public transportation or just how you're supposed to order food in a cafe. I didn't have to haggle on the street with someone by just writing numbers down until we agreed how much the necklace or painting was going to cost me. I didn't have to make sure everything was going to fit in my suitcase.
I stayed in an inn just a few blocks from downtown Portland, Maine. I could walk to some great shopping and eating, or hop in the car and be oceanside in about 20 minutes. I spent hours on the shale rocks at one park, just watching the ocean pounce on the rocks over and over, never tiring of the game.
I strolled along a mile-long stretch of sandy beach, on the lookout for bits of sea glass and beautiful stones. I laughed at a seagull attacking my Cooking Light magazine.
I slept in. I at breakfast at Starbucks and then just sat there and read for an hour. I got inspired by the pottery and jewelry and photography and hand-made things at several different shops in the Old Port. I spent a ridiculous amount of money on dinner one night. Worth. Every. Penny.
I went on a sunset cruise around Casco Bay, meandering through the islands, and shivering stoically until I had to give in and head down below for some heat after the sun totally disappeared.
I checked out some of the lighthouses, and played with the self-timer on my camera. I spent a silly amount of time in an upscale paper/stationery shop...love that stuff!
Here are a few of the photos I took:
the ruins of a dock off one of the islands in Casco Bay
amazing patterns left on the sand as the tide receded.
some of the treasures I found
love the colors here. and my mom likes thistles.
I've never been a big "I love lighthouses" person. had to add some interest somehow.
I did, however, really like this lighthouse out in the bay, just off the shore where the Maine Head Light is. Not sure it still works at all, but it's just a really pleasing texture/color...especially as the setting sun hit it. An in-focus photo coming up…
self-timed photos are fun. you should see the rejects :-) Actually, no you shouldn't. And no, I don't have a tumor on my forehead. That's my knee.
This was my favorite place of all.
saw quite a few Monarchs fluttering around. my mom tells me they ought to be heading to somewhere in South America by now. Slackers.
I sat and watched this for the longest time. I love how the Bible describes the voice of God as the sound of many waters. The endless variety in how the wave approaches the shore and breaks and sprays and roars holds me spellbound.
Again, lighthouses=no big deal. add flower. stir.
but this is the famous one, so I thought I'd get a more clear shot of it also. the setting sunlight can give you some powerful pictures.
I'll have to dig up my stone heart encrusted in ice shot from last winter...
here's that other lighthouse I liked better.