Posted by: Sally Ingraham | January 22, 2008

Bar Harbor in January

Stephen HigginsIt has been bitterly cold and overcast – white sky days – recently. I find myself accidentally sleeping later in the morning, and then getting up and dinking around the house. A glance toward the window is accompanied with a shiver, and an almost justified decision against going outside.

Today, though, I roused myself a little. It is still frigid and the sky glowers down. I could not persuade myself to actually go hiking, so I drove into Bar Harbor for a different kind of adventure.

Hunched against the wind that came sneering up from the ocean, I walked around town, camera tucked into my pocket. I came looking for treasure, those things I usually miss seeing as I do errands and shop. I kept a brisk pace, but often came to a sudden stop with a few quick steps back to investigate the view around the corner of a house, or peer between the bars of a gate.

I found a gravestone, a bell tower, a broken window, and a dried rose hip. I found any number of interesting houses, sitting cold and lonely, waiting for summer and their owners to return. Bar Harbor blinked at me through windows crusted with snow, lowering eyelashes of flaking paint.

Glamorous for the tourists, usually bright and shinny, the town appeared to me today to be letting it’s guard down. After all, who is left to see it, except for the ones who truly love it, or the ones with nowhere better to go. Today I saw Bar Harbor without it’s make-up on.
Blue Port-a-Potty
The sun almost broke through at the beginning of my walk. Near the end of it snow began to come down in tiny balls that caught in the corners of my eyes, and left smudges on the lens of my camera. I turned away from watching a port-a-potty rock gently at the end of a dock, and headed up the hill to Geddy’s.

It was warm and dark inside the restaurant. A tiny new baby wailed for a moment, probably from the chilly draft of my entrance. A trio at a booth chatted softly in French. I hung my hat and scarf on the back of my chair, and ordered a huge plate of fish and chips. It was hot and crispy when it came. I ate it with a great deal of ketchup and tarter sauce, and watched the snow blow across the road with a small half smile on my face.

Bar Harbor in the off-season, in the winter, can be a comfortable place for those of us blessed with the ability to take pleasure in small things – be it cold ocean or blustery winds or this quiet library where I now sit, listening to the old-fashioned radiator whispering beside me.

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