Maine in my blood

Well, I didn't do so well posting additional pictures of my 10 mini quilts that I have been working on.  That would be because I haven't had any more time to work on them yet.  I thought instead I would share with you my thoughts on Maine, specifically Castine, Maine.  I am spriritually connected to this place where my family owned property along with a whole bunch of cousins, and great aunts and uncles. This is where I am going this weekend, to finalize all of the details for my upcoming wedding ceremony in July.  I can't wait!!!

I had made a wall hanging from photos of this special place of mine that I am sharing below.  Scroll further down and you will read my personal expressions about Where Angels Gather.  Enjoy and see you next week!

Where Angels Gather

by Margaret Applin 8/2/2010

There is a place where angels gather to play amongst the tides
Where wild fields of lupine join the endless bright blue sky
Where seagulls flock and herons talk upon the water high
The seaweed breaks still waters as the tide begins to rise

In morning you can hear angels dance along the foggy shores
The ducks will wake and seagulls take to skies where they can soar
Angels leave their footprints in dampened grass as they walk by
Then fade into the morning sun on summer breezes high

There’s a place in my heart where angels gather where hearts no longer run
Where people tied by common threads and blood no longer come
Now nothing’s left but doors on hinge through which they entered here
But the angels stay to watch and pray for those souls to gather near

I wonder if the angels know to watch for me someday
When I can join them on the shores where forever I will stay
To greet the morning sun, hide behind fields of wildflowers
To dance forever amongst the tides on shores that we called ours

From the time I was born until the time I was old enough to work, my summers were spent on the shores of the Penobscot River in mid-coast Maine. As soon as school was out, Dad would pile us in the car and make the long road trip to drop us off until Labor Day weekend when he would come back to pick us up and spend some of his vacation time. My grandmother and her two sisters had summer homes on the same beach where all of their children and their families would come to visit. At times, there would be as many as 35 cousins and second cousins from Tennessee, Virginia, Massachusetts and Connecticut who all gathered here to celebrate family and summer.

Big bonfires on the beach where we roasted marshmallows, cookouts with fresh lobster and crab, Fourth-of-July parades and festivities, ice cream at The Breeze on the dock in Castine and so many more activities and fun times are forever imbedded in my memories. When I was old enough to skip afternoon naps, I would head down to the beach where I would bask in my alone time. I remember making up songs, writing poetry, and dreaming about what I wanted my life to be like when I grew up. Because of all of those summers I spent on that beach, gathering shells, lifting seaweed to capture small crabs, and climbing on big rocks as the tide came in, I have a connection with this place like none other in my life. This is the most peaceful place I have ever been and will ever be in my life.

As life progressed, part-time jobs and summer fun with friends replaced the summers previously spent in Maine. Families split up and cousins graduated school and started families of their own. We no longer joined each other in that beautiful familiar place to continue making memories and building new experiences there. When I look back now, I see how our priorities changed and the pace of life grew faster and faster until years later when we were looking back at what, in hindsight, we would give back in order to have spent more time there. For some of us, a dull ache existed; a longing for one day, one week, something that would bring us back there to recapture those memories and perhaps make some new ones, but we never were back there together. We talked a little about it, but didn’t end up making any real decisions and life moved on.

Life had gone beyond what we had there. Time passed, family members passed away and a couple of celebrations brought us together on the same shore but only for brief periods of time. The properties were sold and new faces, new families existed where we used to be. They would walk the floors we walked, play in the yard where we played, and sleep in the rooms we used to sleep in. All of a sudden, it seemed, it was someone else’s story.

I’ve been back now, going on four summers, walking the beach here, singing to myself and feeling so at peace with life. I can sit for hours on the beach looking back at the red camp, and the other houses still there, smiling to myself, and lost in endless moments of years past. My spirituality is here on this beach. It’s all around me in the lupine fields, driftwood washed up on the shore, patches of muscle and clam shells, the sound of the waves gently soothing the rocks and sand as the tide creeps forward. I like to believe that my grandparents, and those family members who have passed, still exist here. They gather here waiting for us to return, someday, to continue what they started.

My quilted wall hanging is a visual expression of what I see inside my heart. The background fabric and that of the sand piper birds was painted using Adirondack Color Washes. I transferred the images to fabric, stenciled and screen printed the background cloth around the pictures, and added details using both hand and free-motion machine stitch. I used an authentic piece of driftwood from the beach in Castine to hang the quilted piece from which felt appropriate. The sand pipers are stitched and mounted to another piece of driftwood from the same beach to complete the scene and the memories.