If we could see a dozen, two dozen feet beneath the surface to see who and what was swimming there, if we could see 100 fathoms to the sand and rock below, we would be amazed at the creatures who live there.
This video was taken at 10AM, April 21, 90 feet above the sea, 15 minutes south of the shore. Wind out of the north. Little waves chasing south. Sunlight in stripes across the sea.
Investing in Beauty and Joy
For the Future
Nancy planted twelve daffodils twenty years ago in front of a stone wall in the lower yard. Some years, depending on fertilizer, we’ve had over 500 flowers. This spring, we needed that additional boost of joy as our early spring crop of yellow flowers came alive once again. Investing in beauty is a good thing.
Barefoot on Our Favorite Beach
In less than 60 days, I’ll be back on my Maine sand beach, barefoot walking the shore. On one end of our beach the tide goes out more than a quarter mile. This video opens with me standing in the shallows. You can see a single me reflected in the half-inch of water. Look closely, you can also see a me reflected in the dome of a hundred bubbles. Then suddenly, a wave sweeps in and we’re all gone.
Summer is coming and we will all be barefoot on our favorite beach soon.
Sea Storm in the Night
The wind and rain stopped, replaced by fog and waves. Three hours into the night, I could hear deep guttural sounds of waves on the cliffs. I know that if it were light there would be spray 25′, 30′, 50′ high in the air. The cliffs muffle the sound of surf. When I can hear the growling at low tide, I know the waves are big. The sound is low, like thunder of an approaching storm. The sound is constant because we have a quarter mile of coastline. Even with my eyes closed and in the dark, I know where the sea is because I can feel the sound pressure coming through the walls.
Fourteen minutes from the Cross building in downtown Portland, 800 feet from Portland Headlight, looking out across a one acre freshwater marsh. Today is March 28, in 40 days this will be the emerging spring green landscape. We captured this image a year ago. We caught the sparkling light on the open ocean, and a young mother pushing a baby carriage while walking two dogs.
Families at the Shore
Families at the shore. Light breeze, full sun, air temperature 29°. Being with family is a good thing.
Early Engineers at the Shore
So much of our time as kids is spent studying cause and effect. It’s about testing how the world works. Three kids at the shore; the big one found chunks of ice and snow. “How far can I throw it? What kind of a splash will it make?” Both are among the many eternal questions of youth.
Someone commented he would like more videos on Hidden Maine in the landscape mode. He felt landscape would fill his desktop screen better. It’s a good suggestion. I have 70,000 photos and 6,000 videos, 98% of them vertical. This is a rare video shot in landscape, looking south east.
This video is from January 1, 2017. How do we celebrate the New Year up here in Maine? We go to the shore to wave watch. This is a lobster boat at Kettle Cove, Crescent Beach, Cape Elizabeth, Maine. The tall stick at the back of the boat is a small mast with a sail that the lobsterman can unfurl. The sail catches the wind and keeps a boat straight to incoming waves as he is hauling traps. Works as long as the wind hasn’t suddenly changed contrary to the direction of the waves. January 1st, sun low in the sky at noon. The ocean and sky are particularly beautiful at this time of year.
Salvador Dali, Melting Windsor Chairs
Gray Toyota truck. Windshield wipers. Wind, rain, waves, rocks, a good sea storm. Pure entertainment venue for two, three, four hours. It is a simple mind that watches. I’m a happy creature when there is a good storm.
America’s Ice Storm
This picture was taken February 17th at 8:02AM at the shore. The nation has been whiplashed with ice, snow, and arctic temperatures. The storm swept east and the ice angels just glazed our state’s bare branches, iced over our streets and walkways. It was simply beautiful. Maine was lucky this time.
This is Stand Up Cave at Crystal Cove, Cape Elizabeth, in thick fog on July 1 at 6:49AM. Fog closes everything in, eliminates all the distractions, allows one to focus on just a few things. A special mystery and beauty can be seen on foggy days. Add to that mystery an alien world landscape, add waves, and add a cave on the shore you can walk into that exists because there is a seam of clear quartz crystals at the center back that runs vertically up the wall. The seam is a weak spot that the ocean keeps working, tunneling the cave deeper into the cliff. The cove is known as Crystal Cove for the veins of quartz crystals that run through the rocks there.
Wind, rain, windshield wipers racing, a pilot boat returns to Portland Harbor fast. It moves quickly appearing, disappearing, swallowed by waves. It looked like they might have been in danger. I’m sure the captain had all the confidence in the world and everything was under control.
Swim at Your Own Risk
Wave watching is Maine’s #3 top sport. With a 3,500 mile coastline, thousands of coves, cliffs, beaches, and islands of every shape and form imaginable, we have an infinite number of opportunities to see how the sea will present the waves. This photo and video are from Fort Williams Beach, where Portland Headlight is located, just twelve minutes from our store. This sporting couple came to the shore at 2:55 on Saturday, January 16, 2021. Watch closely to this 46 second video to see if you can see the lobster trap caught in the waves.
Maine Coast, Spurwink River
Not for Ten Million Dollars…
Would I Move
I was born and brought up here, a few hundred feet away. This is looking at the Cape Elizabeth shore from the Scarborough side of the Spurwink River,
My people came to this Maine beach in the early 1900’s. Both my mother’s people “Cross” and my father’s people “Pride”. They didn’t know each other until their kids met and several years later I came along and joined them all.
Portland, Jewel of the Maine Coast
Maine’s Gold Coast Starts Just a Few Blocks From Our Store
A couple of times a year, I leave our Cross building on Free St and wander down five blocks of back streets to Portland’s waterfront. Somedays, the gold of lobstermen meets the gold of jewelers. I found this idyllic scene on one of our wharfs. This is worthy of a Salvador Dali painting.
A rare winter day, full sun, blue sky, seemed almost like summer in December. I even found a Dandelion on my lawn. Good ocean waves coming into Crescent Beach from the south east, wind from the north east, and a fine feathery blowback from cresting waves. Fifty cars, one hundred people, forty dogs, and one guy on a bike. He rode out to the point, struck a pose in silhouette against cresting waves and afternoon sun.
This was taken on the shortest day of the year, December 21. This is Atlantic sunrise. What it means on December 21st is the sun has gone as far south as it can and will go. With dawn on December 22nd, the sun is on its way back. Spring is returning and summer is not far behind. And, while some say winter is just beginning, we say spring is on its way; the days are getting longer.
On any evening, after the sun goes down I step out to the porch to sense the night, to feel the air, to scan the ocean. On this night, I saw a ship anchored at the horizon in the dark. I saw its three bright lights in the black sky and sea.
I’m seeing more Hermit crabs today than we ever had back in the 1950’s and 1960’s. I could be wrong, but kids are so observant, how could we have missed them? I see so many now. Sometimes in the shallow puddles at low tide there can easily be a dozen or two. Built more like little lobsters with a curly tail, they are easy to spot scurrying about. Pick on up and they retreat inside quickly. Hold the shell for a minute and they slowly emerge. The claws explore, and if it’s a big hermit the pincher can actually catch a finger. It’s 7:55AM in the distance, out of focus is Prouts Neck.
We live in an amazing place, Maine. There is a hidden beauty here, sometimes just a few hundred feet from places we all know, or have seen on calendars and postcards. We thought, in these times of restricted travel, we would share secret places, here in Maine, places that often, only locals know. We will be sending these “Hidden Maine” secret places emails on Sundays. Usually, these emails will feature no jewelry, nothing we’re trying to sell or promote. Often, we will provide only general clues as to where the secret places are, no GPS coordinates. And yes, sometimes we will tell you exactly where, and occasionally how to get there.
So many interesting things happen as the days grow shorter. Morning light is lower in the sky. On November 22, we are just 30 days from the shortest day of the year. Morning air temperatures now are in the high 30s. The oak leaves are brown rust and Japanese maples are still red and fading. Low light and a wind riffled sea.
I love my morning walk to the mailbox. It takes me 40 seconds down and 5 minutes back. I’m a kid on my walk back. I’m looking into the sun. My world is in silhouette. The driveway is 60 feet above the sea. The wind, the leaves, the sounds, I am caught by the purity and simplicity of the elements….and what I love this morning: the clouds over the sea, and hammock. Will this ever be repeated? Tomorrow, guaranteed, will be different.
Sunday morning I went to the cliffs. In the distance, through the haze, five miles down the coast is Two Lights. Look closely, mid-screen three loons sit on the rock. Behind me is Portland Headlight and between me and Two lights is a sparkling sea with bell buoys.
This is one of my favorite meditation points on the coast of Maine. I often go with the intent of spending five minutes…I’m often here for an hour.
Fierce winds overnight. Trees uprooted, big branches falling out of trees, leaves scattered like confetti. Gray skies. Morning sea winds still strong. Thunder waves at cliffs. The air is still warm enough to go down by the shore to watch.
There’s a reason millions of people come to Maine in July and August…blue skies, 3,500 miles of coastline.
Here’s what you miss not seeing the state in our other ten months of the year. Our gray-green sea, heavy clouds, wind and waves. If you’re here year round, on interesting days, it’s a quick jaunt down to the shore to see what’s up. This is a view 500 feet from Portland Headlight.
Sunday morning. 9:16. Eating oatmeal and raspberries, drinking a cup of coffee with the Portland Press Herald and the Boston Globe. I’m ignoring the papers and am watching as a two masted schooner sails along our shore. This is the week’s most awesome moment at the shore with a streaked gray and cream colored sky, a tear in the clouds above, sunlight in stripes sparkling across the sea. Nothing in the national news is better than this moment, this morning.
Everyone loves waves. This is my beach. I’ve spent 72 summers here. When the tide goes out at our end of the beach, it’s a quarter mile from high dry sand to way out low tide. This is an hour from high tide on a falling tide. The beach is Higgins Beach in Scarborough, Maine. The tree-lined shore is Cape Elizabeth.
I got home at 8:30. It was dark. I called Nancy and we talked about things. Just after nine I went out into the dark, beneath a full moon and walked to the shore to stand on the cliffs at the edge before a black sea covered with glittering silver light.
Sometimes at breakfast, I imagine I’m on a cruise ship, watching sunrise on arrival at a new port. What’s surprising about a window on the sea is that even though the window and scene are stationary, it’s different every morning. And, even in the span of ten minutes, it is surprising how much can change.
I live by the shore, 15 minutes outside of Portland. Over the last ten years, I’ve become used to the daily cruise ship traffic coming and going out of Portland Harbor in August, September, and October. Ships as big as New York sky scrapers silently slipping in and out of Portland Harbor.
I like a seriously good wave day. I believe all the energy generated by a good sea is transmuted into the rocks at the shore, and that he and she who stand at the shore are deeply, profoundly connected to the solid land, the eternal sea, and to one another. It’s why thousands turn out a the shore when serious waves are thrashing the cliffs and sweeping up beaches.
As I got older, my balance became more questionable, strength lessened, and my son, first mate, vice president of boating, had more interesting things to do on weekends. So, I sold the 13-foot Boston Whaler. Boat-less, I was bereft, a lost soul. Something so fundamental to my soul had been torn out. I went a year boat-less, came back and bought a 9-foot row boat, fiber glass, bisque color, rope gunnel, varnished seats, new varnished oars. I could feel a melody in my heart return.
Summer is winding down. The sun is lower in the sky. Down on the cliffs looking south, on the next peninsula down the coast you can see the remaining lighthouse of Two Lights. Two lighthouses were built close together in 1874 so that incoming ships could distinguish the location as different from Portland Headlight, five miles further up the coast.
The waves were rolling at Roaring Rock Point in York on this late winter early spring day. Wave watchers and cold water surfers were out enjoying this sunny Sunday morning. Video catches a surfer ride a wave to shore against the sun dappled sea.
Ocean temperature: 38 degrees.
Air temperature: 52 degrees.
Sea foam whipped from frothy waves jiggles like jello in the wind. Eight-inches deep in spots, I’d never seen anything like it. It was a great early spring wave day.
East Point Sanctuary, in Biddeford Pool, is a spit of land with a wind swept field and rocky beach out at the point. The distant lighthouse is Wood Island Light.
The Howard W. Middleton shipwrecked off of Higgins Beach in a thick fog. The remains of the old ship are still on the beach. This photo is half-tide. At low tide you can see the remains of the entire ship outline. At high tide it disappears beneath the waves. Visit Higgins Beach in Scarborough, Maine…best visible shipwreck in all of Maine…highly accessible and interesting condition after 123 years.
Cleaning out the basement on Saturday, I came across this old wooden lobster buoy. Just before I tossed it into the truck for my Saturday dump run I thought, I’ll run this down to the cove and toss it into the ocean. Freeing a wood buoy after a half-century of confinement was a good feeling. -R.H.P.
Lobstermen can’t pull or set traps on Sunday. I noticed this lobster boat off shore one Sunday. I filmed, then watched the film enlarged. There are two guys on the boat; one is driving and one has a fishing rod. Can’t keep a good man down or off his boat.
Surprises are the best. I took a load of brush to the dump this week. As I backed in I looked to my right and trailing down behind the leaf mulch pile was a 300 foot jungle of purple and white flowers. After tossing the brush, I walked down to take a look. I’ve been coming to this dump for 44 years. This is the first year I’ve seen this garden display. The way nature works, next year the flowers may not be there. In the background of the video below, you can hear birds and thunder. By the time I made it back to the truck we had a downpour.
April 2020, early morning before breakfast at the shore. I’m watching sunlight on the water when I catch three kids hiking the rocks. Thirty years ago, I lived half a mile down the shore. Summers, I used to go rock climbing every morning before breakfast. The end of my trek was where these three kids ended up climbing down the rocks. It was a great way to clear my head, focus attention, and start a new day.
Spring, May, the most beautiful month of the year. Everything is leafing out, turning green. Flowers are blooming, days are warming. This is a pink Azalea in a neighbor’s yard. 9:23 in the morning, temperature 58 degrees, looking southeast.
Hidden Maine the week before, flowers just blooming, a week later, flowers with brown edging. There is a moment, literally a moment in time, you can’t explain it, you just have to be there. Seventy feet above the sea. sunlight on the water. birds in the trees. There are moments in plain view that are so awesome, so special, so beautiful. It’s nice to be able to see the good green Earth and all the beauty that surrounds.
I saw an article about a secret beach in Cape Elizabeth several years ago. The article said few people knew of its existence. I filed the thought away. Wednesday morning I happened to be in the neighborhood, had an hour to spare, and thought, why not.
While there, I got this 32 second video of Ram Island Light with diamond light on the water. Because the article told the name “Cliff House Beach”, I feel free to reveal it again.
The irony is that I have lived within one and then two miles of this beach for 45 years and never knew it was there.
This is Heart Rock Beach. The metal post you see at the beginning of the video is the stainless steel railing to the stairs that lead down to the beach and cove. In the summer, three, five, seven colored kayaks sit on the upper part of the beach waiting to be paddled out of the cove. Today, if they were there, they would be swept away by the waves.
Why do you come to Maine? Because we have a wild, real, awesome coast. We have rock cliffs, secret coves, and an ocean that never stops. Waves that meet our shores that have been whipped by the wind hundreds of miles out to sea. Waves that race to shore to finally resolve on our coast in white froth and foam, and end with a lion’s roar. Waves sweeping up a beach dissolving at the base of cliffs. It’s all here.
Strong winds out of the east, big waves at the shore and spray 30′, 40′, 50′ high. Temperatures warm enough to be able to go down to the shore and wave-watch. Those of us who live here year round live for this winter-spring weather.
March and April we’ve had some good sea storms with 8, 10, 12 foot waves cresting at the cliffs. Thunder night and day a constant lion’s roar, sea spray 40 to 50″ high. Shown above is a still of a gathering wave from Saturday, April 4, 2020. This is the entrance to Portland Harbor. Ram Island Ledge Light is at the center. A single gull heads toward Portland.
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