Dear Life As A Human:
We had had only one criterion for our holiday: an ocean view. So I simply searched the internet for all cottages that met this criterion and then booked the one at the best rate, which happened to be in a small fishing town called Jonesport.
We had never heard of Jonesport before, and neither had anyone else we knew. But we set off on our merry way nonetheless. After a long drive (granted even a short drive is a long one when you have two children in the car), we arrived to our rental.
All four of us piled out of the car and immediately rushed toward the ocean. Did it have an ocean view? Yes; sweet success.
For the next couple of days, we then happily set about doing nothing but walking on the beach and staring at the ocean. After a day or so, we needed to head into town to stock up on some basic grocery items.
“Town” seemed like an overstatement though. There was a church, an ATM machine, a gas station and a small general store for groceries. I eagerly noted that there was a café, but it didn’t seem open.
I started to wonder what it would be like to be a local here in Jonesport. When you’re on holiday, you don’t mind staring out into space and snoozing away the day, barely moving more than a few feet from your house. But could I, a city-girl, live without the buzz of theatre, cinema, clothing stores and – *gasp* – shoe stores?
As I drove about, I noticed that I mostly saw men in pick-up trucks. Lobster pots could be seen stacked about houses, barely standing after years of clear neglect. There was a certain beauty in the ramshackle nature of the place. But it also felt slightly forlorn.
Wikipedia tells me that the per capita income for the town was $14,135 in the 2000 census. That’s not much to live on. But maybe one doesn’t need that much when you’re surrounded with a rugged, gorgeous natural landscape to occupy you?
We drove to Beals Island, where we had heard there was a nature conservancy with hiking trails. The parking lot was empty. And there were no maps at its entrance to indicate the length or even number of trails available. We set off anyhow. The smell of blueberry bushes wafted around us as my daughter rambled on about Pokemon and my son hummed his own little tunes. My husband and I, silent in our own thoughts.
I was thinking about the life of a fisherman. Is it lonely? Or does the lack of commercial entertainment encourage more casual beers over dinners? In the suburbs, it’s fairly commonplace that one might not know their neighbours. But here — where there are less than 600 households in total – how could you not know, or care, about your neighbour? As a complete outsider, I can do nothing but speculate.
What do you think: Does the fisherman get lonely or does the fisherman seek out this lifestyle precisely for its solitude?
We’re having a grand ol’ time. Missing you, but will send another postcard soon.
Julie and family
“Jonesport” Wikimedia Commons