PRIVACY PLEASE - CUSHING, MAINE
This coastal town has a population of 1500, but it can feel more like 15, which I imagine is the draw for the people that live here. It’s a quiet setting far from the tourist and daily commuter traffic of Route One, where a few roads run across open fields, through dense pines and along the water of the St. George River where it meets the Atlantic Ocean. The asphalt roads ultimately turn to dirt and they all end at the shoreline.
It’s a private place and the private people live in homes set off from the road on top of a hill overlooking the bay, or down a long dirt path that disappears in the woods to a camp on the cove’s edge. They’re afforded sweeping views across the wide, salty river on a clear day, or just as easily it could be 20 yards of visibility into a wall of fog that sits for days straight and puts one more layer between neighbors.
They didn’t settle here for the nightlife. They meet each other at the one general store where they fill their cars with gas and collect diesel for their boats, or buy fresh halibut for dinner if they didn’t already catch some themselves. The young girl behind the counter tells you she’s going to the city for school this fall just in case you assumed she’d spend her life here, and when you ask which city she replies Springfield, Mass.
They congregate with their trucks down at the cove’s end where the coming tide can’t come anymore. And when it goes out they walk out with it and I imagine they make small talk while the mud sucks at their boots as they bend over with a clam rake, slowly working their way further out towards the sea, moving slowly away from each other until there’s no more talk but just the steady sound of metal moving through wet mud and stone.
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Guide to the Northeast Brett Klein lives in Connecticut and works in New York, but prefers small town life and his home state of Maine. Any chance to get rural is a mental vacation. Follow Klein on Tumblr at The Coast is Clear. His curatorial collection of Americana, rural life, other artists and ephemera can be seen on Tumblr at Tons of Land.