Squirrel Island in Boothbay Harbor is an island outside of time, where the fog rolls in slowly and sea sounds and ferry times sound time time, everything moves at the pace of foot traffic, and folks greet each other with stories of their life since last summer, the cottage they are staying in and whom they know - how we are all connected.
Coming here towards the end of summer as we have done for five years now, being greeted, and then greeting friends in turn at the ferry, is always beautifully bittersweet. The best way to see out the end of summers golden light. We walk the islands boardwalk daily, coffee or beverage in hand, take in the seabirds, lobster boats and ships passing by. The plants and changes in the houses, moving through the day only as fast as we choose to, where there are no wheeled vehicles and limited service life becomes blessedly human.
Although not a native "Squirrel" myself, I am now in the fold, having come enough and created connections and stories of my own, I now know folks when we gather at Cow Rocks or the Pump for cocktails (the first simply just flat topped rocks jutting into the small ferry harbor, the latter, literally a water pump.)
There are no stores, no shops, no "conveniences" of the mainland here, and again, with a bit of planning this is a gift. The teas hop sells ice cream occasionally, musically inclined guests play the bells in the old church Saturday evenings, as it probably has been for decades, and now the post office boxes are idle, but they do receive fancy commodities like mail order food and clothing for islanders. And one small "illegal" but well known shop in a seaside house sells all things squirrel your heart could ever desire, and then some.
Families have returned for generations; baptized, and married, even memorialized out of the church whose directions of noted simply on stump nearby, carved "Church" with an arrow. And the houses remain largely unchanged, paper thin bead board walls, wide barn plank floors worn smooth, and eclectic old furniture from bygone era's. Each house has different quirks, but all have fingerprints of past generations adding charm and meaning, heights marked on the walls, school primers and sports achievements on the bookshelves, posters of plays and concerts put on for summer entertainment from the 40's, 60's and 70's.
Places like this are pure gold. You cannot create them in our fast paced age of constant connectivity to elsewhere and disconnection to the past and moment you stand in. Squirrel Island, is a place apart where one can sit and look back through time, move back through time even, and be a part of it all, at peace with the simple beautiful history, oneself and ones place in it all. There is no urgency here, only calm quiet being, and the knowledge that not only is that enough, but that it just may be the greatest gift there is.