At high tide the islands float in a vast blue expanse, but at low tide there is a sea of sticky mud. During the summer, I check the tides daily with the weather, adjusting our rhythms to the pull of the moon and the sun. We are not unlike the herons, except they prefer low tide. Sometimes I follow the birds with my paintbrushes. Too soon they will migrate south.
September light draws a sharp line between ocean and sky. The children return to school, and my view is now a blank wall. To write a novel, I look inside. I see the Atlantic from the opposite shore. My imaginary England is vivid, drawn from memories of our year abroad.
Writing is not that different from painting. First I block out the major elements in washes of pigment. Then I sketch out the plot and place the characters in the landscape. The space between them is as important as their forms. Word by word, I fill in the details and lift the excess with a sponge. The one color I cannot lift is blood red; it stains the page. My characters take a life of their own, and I follow the narrative tide.
Great Blue Heron at Simpson Point by Sarah Laurence
Political Watch: soon the Brunswick Town Council will be considering a proposal to open Simpson Point to clamming. The airboats can be hazardous to swimmers and to kayakers. Also clamming muddies the water. Please urge your council members to restrict clamming at Simpson Point during the summer. Simpson Point is the only public access point to ocean swimming in Brunswick.