It just so happened that a late model pickup truck needed to get from the fresh and salt-blown Maine coast down to Virginia for the gilded fall. It just so happened that the last lobstery gusts of New England summer were blowing us south too, so we volunteered to drive it down. We leave in a bit, and since the truck only has a CD player, we’re sitting on this rock, where The Checkley no longer stands, making mix CDs to take us into fall like it was ten years past when we didn’t know the preciousness of adventure, but we certainly understood well the value of a good mix.
Sweetheart and I camped right along the extreme tidal flats up where Maine becomes Canada and the water rises and falls 25 feet with every hi-lo tide. We were in Cobscook Bay, “cobscook” being the Passamaquoddy tribal word for “boiling tides”. Part of the allure of our state park campsite was that at low tide “adventurous campers” (said the park literature) were permitted to go out into the expansive mud flats and get very dirty in the search for heretofore unknown to me softshell clams. Clams so fat and juicy and salty-sweet they can’t even close their shells all the way. We arrived just at low tide and ventured out to secure our dinners, while all the while the incredible fast and furious waters chased us back to land. We pulled a bounty, put them in fresh water to let them filter out their grit while we prepared the fire and tended to our sore fingers. When the coals were jewels, we banked and stoked and roasted the clams over the new open flames. Their salty juices hissed and spit, we melted butter in an enamel coffee cup by setting it at the edge of the fire, and spooned from the jar of cocktail sauce we picked up in Lubec (it was the easternmost cocktail sauce of the United States). Washed all down with dark brown beer it was a joyous supper indeed. And for dessert? The berries we had picked along the hiking trail that morning. It may seem simple to say, but it’s a certain city epiphany: how honest and good it feels to catch, pick, or harvest the food you eat yourself. To provide. When the fruits of your labors are actual fruits, foraged in the open, free in every sense.
One of those nights of the incredibly full moon we all walked from the river’s edge inland to the no-lane road that lopes along the border of Canada to light giant sparklers and dance in our own circles to their woozy comet trails. When the last one burnt out, we lay in the middle of the road spooling out in either direction knowing, somehow, no one would be coming along and looked up at the stars, made almost dim by that huge moon. It was night magic.
Just got back from an absolutely incredible Jubilee!hiking trip out west with my Mama… we averaged 8 miles a day, hiking along misty river rainbowed canyon edges, skirting glacial freezing mirrored lakes, and counting infinite wildflowers along the trails. What a time… I’ll share more pictures tomorrow. Lovelove!
I got back to New York last night, cruising back up the Eastern Shore in the wake of an epic thunderstorm that left thousands without power, delayed my introduction to my P.N.F.B.* Miss Annabelle Mooney, and garnered the real-time headline: INCH LARGE HAIL BALL FOUND IN CHUCKATUCK. Man, oh, man. Upon my return the internet is out and the cilantro has bolted (see above), but— the flowers are lovely and small and delicate and make a perfect little cilantro-y nosegay. If she were here I’d give it to Miss Meags to celebrate her engagement! Lovelovelove.
Coming up this week I’ll have an all-you-can-eat buffet of American-ness for your reading pleasure: baseball, camping, adventures, fireworks, and, of course, a dog on a ferris wheel.
After glimpsing them in New York harbor during fleet week, and seeing them streaming sails across the mouth of the Chesapeake, Daddy and I cruised down to Harborfest to see the stunning tall ships in all their furled glory. I told you I love ships. Gilded figureheads in the golden hour, fireworks amidst the riggings at sundown, all the ships in the harbor sounding their horns at once, a rude and glorious symphony—as from Whitman:
Chant on, sail on, bear o’er the boundless blue from me to every sea,
This song for mariners and all their ships.
ps. and a very happy birthday to Sweetheart… I can’t wait to share the celebration!
When Sweetheart and I went down to Puerto Rico for his dear friend’s wedding to a native Puertorriqueña, we made the good choice to hang around for a few days after. Fortified with strange savory pastries dusted with powdered sugar and strong dark coffee on our way out of San Juan, we headed to the interior. Trekking into El Yunque rainforest to spend the night off the grid in a cabin perched atop a mile high mountain that used to be a tropical fruit farm=good plan. Upon our arrival, we each got a crooked walking stick and hiked up the jungle switchbacks, stopping along the way to pick camandula seeds (which the native Taina ladies used to string as necklaces) arriving at our cabin—tin roofed and on stilts—as the sun was setting. Our host- a sort of Apocalypse-Now-Roger-Sterling- showed us the machete (labeled “guest machete”), gave us this map, and melted into the underbrush. We made fire, cooked meat, peppers and rice, drank rum, played backgammon by candlelight, slept in hammocks, took rainforest rainwater showers and, when the nighttime thunderstorms broke into dawn, we followed the map to the Cubuy River falls. Not all those who wander are lost, but it helps if you have a map.
From the amazing team that brought you Murmurations, here is a darling little video about Rome’s “love locks”. A new tradition on a 2000 year old bridge, lovers write their names on a lock, affix it to chains spanning the TIber, and symbolically and grandiosely toss the key into the river. Ahh Rome, how I love you.
Sweetheart’s dear friend Jared is known for throwing legendary parties. Sweetheart and I actually kissed for the first time after one of his rooftop soirees that featured a bamboo forest and a margarita machine. Needless to say, when Jared is in charge, love is in the air. So, when we headed south to his bride’s hometown, Rincón, Puerto Rico, for their wedding, we knew that it would probably be pretty epic. The whole shebang was absolutely impeccable, gorgeous, perfect, and seemingly effortless- from the fresh coconuts macheted open and filled with rum to the (literally) world caliber reggae band to the peonies and frangipani covering every surface to the… live painting. The brother of the groom flew this incredibly talented artist down and she created the painting above during the wedding reception. This was exactly what it looked like- hanging lanterns, orchids, giant copper pool of waterlilies in the middle of the dancefloor, the last of a sunset sky through nesting colonial arches framing the chuppah and going out to sea. Seeing the painting come together during the night was really, really cool. Naturally a wedding in a tropical paradise with a cast of good looking, photogenic, and wild characters makes for a good time, but who knew it made for good art? Maravilloso.Read more about the artist, Katherine Gressel, and her process here.
Ta Ta For Now, dear ones! Sweetheart and I are heading to tropical locales, turquoise waters, and sweet funky and spicy rum cocktails. So, I’ll bid you adieu for a bit…
In my absence and in the spirit of adventure, exploration, wanderlust, and the ever quickening pulses we’re all feeling due to the rising temperatures of summer, please enjoy a MIXTAPE I made you guys. A Feather by Feather first, this one is meant to be played with the windows down, wherever you are and wherever you’re going. It’s called Breezes Kiss Collarbone. Click to download and please share! Besos!