The Marginal Way is a winding strip of macadam, a mile in length. It ribbons off Shore Road, from an upscale resort, the Anchorage by the Sea. Each year I have walked it, it has remained unchanged. Yes, it has been repaved; the rotten wooden benches have been replaced with the new ones; the trash cans have been repainted, thier dented metal covered with genteel wooden slats. But the inclines and dips of the path remain the same. The juniper trees remain in their elegant contortions on the shore’s edge. And each time I pass a clump of beach plums, I smell their rosewater fragrance.
Tonight is warm and unwindy. I walk the familiar bends thinking about the Atlantic below. The surf come up like the frilled hem of a skirt and fills the spaces between rock and pebble. Between each rock and hard place, each scylla and charybdis of southern Maine. There are some thunderholes that boom when the tide fills them and I thrill a little – the hairs on my arms stand up straight – when the tide rushed in. But I feel safe walking on the macadam above, behind the guard rail (even if it is just chain link).
The ocean below doesn’t frighten me. It minds its own business and I mind mine. But I wonder about it sometimes. About the lobster buoys bobbing and winking. When do the lobstermen come by to haul them up? I never see the boathands out pulling in lenghts of rope, but the buoys are constant. Sometimes they look like gulls on the water, and sometimes like lost parts of human figures – heads above the surf.