After several days of very cold and extremely windy weather, this morning’s 35 degrees felt balmy. When I walked down to Seal Harbor Beach the ocean looked tropical – turquoise blue and jade green water washing gently in and out. I didn’t spend too much time watching the ocean though. My purpose this pleasant morning was to explore “the Hill”.
Seal Harbor falls neatly into two sections. There is where I live, where the ordinary people live, where those of us who still have to work live. Here you will find stacks of lobster traps in backyards in the winter, scraggly vegetable gardens in the summer, and people all year round.
Then there is what I refer to as “the Hill”, where the rich folk have planted their summer cottages. That is where I went this morning, tromping up past the beach, down past the dock, and around the corner onto Cooksy Drive. It was very quiet up there. The huge houses sat huddled on their cliffs, or buried in their trees. Abandoned, forlorn, waiting for the boards to be taken off their windows, waiting for summer.
The roads on the Hill are narrow, and many. It is a veritable free-for-all (only really, really not!) of houses and private drives and secret flights of stone stairs. The roads ribbon round, making a maze – almost, but not quite a labyrinth. I walked up and down and here and there and just to the right, winding my way past the fancy fences, and the little signs that announce the house’s names.
There were a couple of carpenters eating lunch on the front porch of one house, and a man off in the woods burning brush. A cute old lady drove past me and gave me a beautiful smile. A Hairy Woodpecker flew over my head. Mostly though, it was just the houses and me.
Ringing Point. Ledge End. Clever names, quaint names, family names. Service entrances. Main entrances. More often than not, simply the word “Private” hung on a chain across an unplowed drive.
Although I tried to imagine what it might be like to live up on the Hill, I wasn’t sorry to return to the center of town – the place where we’re all equal. Above the Post Office a Bald Eagle soared in sweeping circles, the white of it’s head and tail glinting in the bright noon sunlight. I laughed a little, watching it spiral closer to the Hill that I had just left. It couldn’t care less if it found it’s lunch up there, or on my side of town.
With that in mind, I walked back to my apartment in the lived-in part of Seal Harbor, pausing to wave to a lady walking her dog, and wrinkling my nose a little as the smell of lobster traps came lightly to me over the breeze.