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"As my attention drifted from the conversation, I imagined Juliet whispering in a sultry voice, "Bob they say men with dark framed glasses are physically and spiritually in-tuned with the world around them."
- Greg Salow

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USA

Monhegan Island
by Greg Salow, Portland, Maine, USA
Jan 7, 2000

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This is where a lot of the birdwatchers hang out. Supposedly over 200 known varieties of birds make their home on Monhegan Island. The Maine Audubon society posted a bulletin of recent bird sightings which included: Yellow Rumped Palms, Northern Parula, Magnolia, Black-Throated Blue Warblers, Solitary Vireos, Western Kingbirds, Dick Cissels, Northern Shrikes, Peregrine Falcons, Ruby-Crowned and Golden-Crowned Kinglets. Lacking a bird guide book and the necessary patience, I didnít hang around too long to see any exotic birds.

The western part of the island winds you along a densely a wooded path. This side is considerably tamer than the rocky eastern side. It leads back to civilization; past weathered gray houses surrounded by stacks of lobster traps; full circle to the ferry landing.

After the four hour hike and a brief rest, I met up with Juliet and another solo hiker named Bob whom she met while hiking one of the island's many interior trails. We ate at The Island Inn Restaurant. Bob was bearded, in his 50ís, andwore thick black framed glasses. He didnít say much except for an occasional "a-yup" and "nope".

Juliet ordered pasta primavera. Joe chose a Salisbury steak. I ordered the salmon well-done . We all sipped wine. Juliet talked. Bob and I listened. Juliet asked "Bob, have you always been this at one with yourself?" Bob thought for a moment, grunted "a-yup", then let out a sputtering laugh that sounded like a dirt bike in need of a tune up. The restaurant became quiet for a moment. Bob looked around, whispered yup to himself, wiped bread crumbs from his beard, and then devoured his Salisbury steak.

Juliet made sure there were no lulls in the conversation. As the wine flowed, she began inching closer to Bob . He was a good active listener. As my attention drifted from the conversation, I imagined Juliet whispering in a sultry voice, "Bob they say men with dark framed glasses are physically and spiritually in-tuned with the world around them." I was snapped out of the daydream by Bob's sputtering laugh, as he wiped an apple pie crumb from his beard. That was my cue to call it a night.

I inched my way back to the hotel along a darkened dirt road lit by the glowing moon above. I sat on a big padded rocking chair overlooking the harbor. I watched the stars sparkle against the dark navy sky. The full moon projected a lime shadow on the ocean. The distant tide swished against the shore. I slept well that night.

The next morning, I awoke early with the lobstermen in time to catch the ferry back to the mainland. I waded through the fog, and drew a few last deep breaths of fresh island air. As the ferry boat left Monhegan Island, I felt more aware of my inner being, thanks to Juliet. I was impressed that such an unspoiled coastal paradise flourishes so close to home.

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