Sometimes when the store is quiet, I pour myself a cup of hot tea and simply wander among the familiar aisles, pausing in front of shelves, and trying to find things to explore and get to know a little better. We have accumulated thousands and thousands of unique items, some come in together in masses, others straggle in and are placed on a shelf and nearly forgotten. It is my job to remind the world of these pieces, to see the beauty and make sure it is reclaimed by others who may be looking for it and not know it. South Berwick, Maine is a wealth of individuals who tend to look at life just a little bit differently. We have painters, writers, actors, potters, jewelry makers, makers, rug hookers, knitters, and artists of all kind who have chosen to express themselves in creation rather than focus on division.
I just met an incredible writer from York, Maine. She happened upon our store on her way home from Somersworth, New Hampshire. Her friend had been telling her we are her kind of store for a long time and today she decided she was going to stop. We fell into a conversation sprung from questions about the chains of cranes, whether or not the heart on the package was somehow included. I smiled and moved towards the display. The heart is a symbol of the devotion Michael shares for folding cranes and the affect they have had in just a few months in raising money for Caring Unlimited in Kittery, Maine. She seemed to understand, immediately reaching for multiple patterns to fill her arms. I stepped back to give her the space to reflect and consider. She quietly mentioned she was a writer and a doula for end of life. I'm not sure how but we began engrossed in a conversation about next steps in life, knowing what you want to be doing, and finding a way to get there. She shared she was moving to a small town in New Hampshire near the border of Vermont. Each new coincidence raised even more hairs on my arms brought with them gentle chills.
I checked her items out, bagged them, and wrote down my email address. We said goodbye and wished each other well. I felt lifted and hopeful. I looked around the store as I poured a large mug of tea and stepped down from behind the counter and onto the floor. I was in search of something I needed to get to know a little better, my eyes fell upon our bookshelf and South Berwick authors. I picked up the thin book of poems entitled Yucatan and peaked inside gently to see what I may find. I have a strange and loving connection to all things Mexico, Mayan, and ancient ruins. I've spent a fair amount of time in South America on various trips throughout my adult life. I've explored ruins, jumped in ceynotes, drove through the jungle in an open aired jeep, and body surfed in waves that were more than I should have been in. I've danced, drunk tequila, learned to scuba, and checked my own personal boundaries and fears at the door. South America was also a place I went to offer a hand in the mountains of Honduras. I met the richest people I know, with a mind and spirit so true and undiluted that I feel as though they did more good for me than I for them. I can feel the hot, heavy sun beating down on my cheeks and shoulders, I can feel the humidity expanding my lungs and slowing me down to a snail's pace, and I can remember how I felt climbing the steep stairs of Chichen Itza straight up into heaven. I remember facing multiples fears and preconceived ideas about how the world works and simply having to let them go.
I read through several of their poems, nodding my head as I went. I was suddenly transported back to south of the border an in a place I keep close to my heart. Three brothers came together, all three self proclaimed poets at heart to respond to photographs captured by one of them. They invite us to write our own poems about the places included in the book. They ask us to look past the present and into the heart of its people, temples, histories, and sacred mysteries.