After a lot of summers of listening and driving and walking and fiddling about the streets of Bar Harbor – not nearly enough summers, actually – you start to notice a couple of things about this town and the people who live or visit here. Nobody will ever know enough, or even close to enough about the places and the people who live here, and sometimes even what we believe we know — where to find the wildest blueberries; how it’s only tourists who stack rocks on the beaches; where the little wisps of ghosts are, soft and billowing against the backdrop of old theaters, hotel windows, flitting between the gravestones — isn’t a whole truth.
We never know enough or people well enough even as we collect our knowledge the way we collect those wild blueberries, painstakingly, one at a time.
Just this week, a beloved teacher died. Susan Tripp taught fathers and their sons, sisters, grandchildren, making an impact in many families for multiple generations.
Just this week, an incoming-senior at Mount Desert Island High School stripped down to his shorts, jumped off a mail boat in a foggy cove and helped stabilize a man who’d fallen off another boat. Oliver Blank jumped into the icy Atlantic water around 9:30 p.m. because he had to help when he could help.
Those people are big deals.
Tiny facts or theories about their stories will shift and move, and I will never know enough about Susan or Oliver. I just know that they were here on this island and made a difference. The differences they made weren’t about standing in photo opportunities, weren’t about making sure the world knew who they were or what they were doing.
Their difference came from their hearts.
Early in August, a lot of people on Mount Desert Island get tired. We go from tiny year-round communities to a hustling hotspot of tourism and activity. We like to try to find quiet and peace on lakes and beaches, on obscure mountain trails, on boats.
Early in August, we like to try to take stock in the people who matter to us, the things that matter to us. We carry those things in baskets known as hearts, collecting them like wild blueberries or strawberries. We know the tiny berries are the sweetest, the most concentrated, the most valuable. We know that it’s not about being showy; the secret is in the memories, the actions that connect one person to another.
We know that blueberries might be Maine’s official state fruit. We know that they aren’t ‘high bush’ and that means they are more poignant, more intense. We know that our blueberries are like our people, real and sometimes raw, and that we should all be valued and prized.
We know that early in August, even when our island is the busiest? We connect.
PLACES TO PICK YOUR OWN BLUEBERRIES
Hog Bay Blueberries
207 Hog Bay Road, Franklin: 207-565-3584, firstname.lastname@example.org
July 25-Sept. 14, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.
Nancy Place Homestead
www.thenancyplace.com 1313 Bald Mountain Road, Orland: 207-949-7662, email@example.com
Call for hours.
Eastbrook Road, Franklin: 207-565-2312, firstname.lastname@example.org
Call for hours .