One never knows what one might find when walking a beach. Especially when walking a Maine beach, in winter.
Earlier this month I traveled to one of my favorite Maine beaches, where I was fortunate to see the sun set over a broad swath of tidal pools, in conjunction with the rise of a 'waxing gibbous' moon. (Such droll, birdlike words for our dear bella luna.)
Yesterday I snow-traipsed (some would say hike, but that doesn't give nearly the feel of it) to an extension of that same beach.
If entering via the state park, or up the road near the Fort, this beach is called Popham. By snow-traipsing the Morse Mountain path, one emerges at Seawall Beach. I only learned the distinction yesterday, and a curious distinction it is, given that one can easily walk northward and again be on Popham.
Regardless of what it might be called, it is, at any place along its stretch, one of my favorite Maine beaches. It never fails to bring me happiness.
Yesterday's happiness was of a bubbly sort.
The temperature this day was, unlike many days prior, above freezing. Far fewer layers were needed for warmth than had been the case on recent excursions The path was skied/trod enough to make it easily passable, but still fresh enough to provide adventure. My fellow snow-traipsers (including a set of back-country skiers) were few in number.
The view along the path was varied and stunning. The sun had begun its afternoon descent through a milky haze of cloud cover, still casting enough light to engage the evergreens in a shadow dance. From the top of Morse Mountain, coquettish waves could be seen shining along the staid coastline.
All was quiet, save for the distant ocean roar.
Emerging from the path (and past the sign informing me that I was indeed on Seawall Beach), I learned that the sands--at least for that moment--were mine alone. No human soul was to be found.
And along the shore, I found my gift. Bubbles. Thousands of them. Millions. Wobbling fortresses of white sea foam abandoned by the receding tide; shining progeny of the coquettish waves.
Ephemera. Bubbling, beautiful ephemera.
Realizing the transitory nature of their being, I chased the bubbles across the surface skim of water leading from the sands to the sea. A small child I was, fascinating by the glimmering billows.
I could not believe my good fortune.
The tide, quickly moving, made short work of my gift. The fortresses soon dissolved to scattered clumps, then to the single bubbles from whence they had come.
But I was not saddened by their disappearance. Such is the nature of ephemera. It is with us, and then it is not. For the moment it is with us, it is our happiness.
One never knows what one might find when walking a beach. Especially a Maine beach, in winter.
Except, almost invariably, happiness.
Seawall Seafoam, January 2011