The unreality of vacation

One of the places I enjoyed taking a vacation best was the extreme eastern edge of Maine, bordering Canada, in a town called Lubec. There, the tides rose 25 to 30 feet, all in the space of 6 hours. The rushing waters, the granite edged seacoast, the ever-present fog bank, and the remoteness, all captivated me. For some reason, the blues of the ocean seemed bluer, the green of the pine trees seemed greener, the tang of the salt air seemed tangier. Or was just that my imagination,  as holiday fantasy took hold and the real world receded, even for just a week?

On the nearby island of Campobello, which is actually across the channel in New Brunswick Canada, there is a lighthouse one can visit…if only at low tide. As the tide rushes out to play among the whales in the deeper ocean, it leaves behind a temporarily exposed spit of sand attached to the lighthouse island. If you dare climb down the granite cliff on a nearly vertical rusty ladder, you can walk over the spit of sand and inhabit the lighthouse, imagining keepers and storms and swells and another era. However, if you linger there too long, you will be stuck. As the cold Atlantic tide returns, fresh from its swirl among the whales, it will fill in and cover the spit with a speed that will at first astound you and then claim you, if you are unwise. See the sign?

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On summer days such as those, with clear blue sky and old cannery brightly adorning the wharf, you never imagine a harsher time. One of unforgiving Maine winters, Atlantic spray, fog, ships blindly creeping in among jagged rocks desperate for harbor. On vacation, I only see the blue skies, calm waters, and town charm. Vacation has done its job, presenting another reality, if only for a week.

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