It was on this bike tour I realized that, at least for now, I am hopelessly caught between these two Maines. It's not quite home, I don’t work there. It's not quite away, I am still from there. I have come to believe this wandering feeling is inevitable while I live in Boston. Forever homeward bound, away from where I live. My relationship to Maine is that of leisure. Even though we rode upwards of eighty miles some days, at times through rain, it was still a vacation. A vacation with work, but a vacation all the same. That's that. I am one of them, one of them from away, at least for now.
So, I don't really know what's homework and what's awaywork anymore. I'm caught in the riptide, sucked out to sea. I can see my home rising up from the water's horizon line but I can't quite swim to it. Until I can move back to Maine and put my labors back into that land it's going to feel like both home and away. While I'm stuck in Boston finishing graduate school, I'll make the pilgrimage when I can, shoot some photos, and exist on the land, pretending I won't have to leave for a different home.
On the last stretch of the last day we rode back through the tourist haven of Camden. It had been five days of pine and marsh, granite and sand. Five days of multiple Maines. Climbing a small hill, knees burning, ocean to our left, cottages to our right, a man tending a garden for the coming summer tourists at a bed and breakfast looked up from his trowel at my roommate and I. Seeing our fully loaded bikes and sunburned faces he shouted, "you're not supposed to be here yet!" I wanted to shout back, to tell him that it's okay, I'm from Maine, I'm not a tourist, I know it's May, I know it's not summer yet. But faced with the reality of needing my breath for the work of climbing the hill in front of me, all I could do was pull air, not words, in and out of my lungs. I was both home and away, working to find my place.