History Magazine

Beautiful Thing of the Day: Map of the Maine Coastline from 1884 (and) Bald Mountain

By Thewilderthings @TheWilderThings
Beautiful Thing of the Day: Map of the Maine Coastline from 1884 (and) Bald Mountain Beautiful Thing of the Day: Map of the Maine Coastline from 1884 (and) Bald Mountain
Maine’s coast, if you stretched it out in a straight line, would extend farther than the widest point of the United States. Fingers of jagged rocks and inlets, coves and beaches, mudflats and swamps, make their way in and out of the Atlantic for 3,478 miles. As I drove the stretch of Route 1 from Wiscasset to Rockport on Friday with my father, he pointed the GPS. “Look, Char,” he said, “it’s like the road is borrowing the land to snake across the little inlets.” (more after the jump).
And it is. Have you ever noticed the difference between the encompassing sounds of the car depending on whether you're driving over solid road or a bridge? The way the constant whooshing of the earth turns into a hallow, gravely sound under the floor boards as you pass over water? Driving up to mid-coast Maine, the sounds alone tell you how often you’re on bridges, with the “whoosh, hummmm, whoosh, hummmm” as you cross from inlet to inlet, hopping across from one finger to another.
Today’s beautiful things are in honor of the whoosh and the hummm, in honor of the thousands of miles I’ve driven up and down this beautiful coast. A lot is changing in my life right now, but I'm hoping I might be able to spend a lot of this summer in Maine. This place is where I’ve always come when I need to heal and when I need to be inspired. The colors are brighter here.
I found the map of Maine above on Etsy, and I thought I'd use it to illustrate the fingers of the Maine coast...mostly because I love that the photo of the map focuses on Knox and Waldo counties, from where I am writing this. I'm going to go to the ephemera store (isn't it great that there is one?) in Camden soon and hunt around for some postcards and maps like the map above to feature on TWT, maps that I can hold and photograph and share with you. But in the meantime, this will have to do.
Bald Mountain also gets a shout out because I hiked up it yesterday, and because from it you can see the snaky inlets of the Maine coast (sort of visible in the photo above). The views from the top are as good as a view gets--farmland and hills to one side, ocean and islands to the other.
With this post I want to pay homage to the whoosh and the hum, and to thank the inlets for jutting into the sea year after year. Also, I want to thank this place for holding onto the piece of me that stays here when I leave, and for having it ready for me again when I return.


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