For the past 12 years, my Dad and his partner Elizabeth have spent their summers in Brooksville, Maine, a small coastal town near Bar Harbor. They have over 20 acres of land with a few little cabins and are in the process of building a barn which will host their art studios, a tractor, and an upstairs living space (with room for a yoga studio).
They live in a smaller building right by the river, which until recently didn't have any electricity or running water! The thought of visiting their Maine house scared me off for a long time. I've gotten so accustomed to my modern conveniences - wifi, TV, hair dryer, even an electric tea kettle - but this year I finally felt ready to visit.
They have solar panels and plumbing now, so it certainly wasn't camping in the woods! But the 4 days we spent there were wonderfully grounding. It felt refreshing to both arrive there and then arrive home again, with a new appreciation for how lucky we are.
It's so easy to take these distractions for granted - the various screens I find myself staring at most days - that it was a welcome relief to spend time in the woods. Sure, they have a laptop and I could have checked my iPhone all day if I wanted to (they have great phone reception there too), but I had no desire.
With the beautiful scenery, amazing local food, and activities at every turn, it seemed ridiculous to me to spend any time at all reading tweets on my phone. It still does, even now that I'm home. Looking at these photos, I'm instantly transported back to the feeling of calm and peace that we felt every day in Maine. Above is the breakfast table on day two. I brought a big jar of my homemade granola, which we enjoyed with local goat yogurt (in another simple glass jar), some chopped up cantaloupe, and handfuls of those gorgeous Maine blueberries.
The photo above is of the kitchen. They've made amazing use of the space - behind that open glass door on the left you can see the fridge (two large drawers with beautiful wood fronts). Pots, pans, and baskets hang from the ceiling beams. Plates and cups are stored on shelves near the kitchen sink. Tea is made in an antique copper kettle on the stove. It was truly humbling and inspiring to me!
We slept on a mattress up that ladder in a little loft space above their office and storage room. No curtains necessary! The view was glorious and waking up with the sun each morning felt natural, not jarring.
All the doors are painted bright green and have homemade branch handles, using fallen wood from the surrounding trees. There's no use for air conditioning or fans - the river provides a sweet, cooling breeze. We loved kayaking on the river and taking short excursions around the area - so many places to explore!
The photo above shows the tree swing and the solar panels to the side of the vegetable and herb garden, where they grow rainbow chard, cucumbers, zucchini, peas, beans, tons of herbs, and several fruit trees which they're hoping will bear fruit next summer.
My hope in sharing these photos and talking about our trip is to remind you to take the time to ground yourself. It's been thought that even the simple act of standing and walking on grass in bare feet can provide this feeling. It's called Earthing, and has been shown to decrease inflammation and improve blood pressure. I'll be sure to spend plenty of time in our back yard whenever I feel overloaded on screen time and be reminded of our grounding time in Maine (or just take the drive up there for a few days again!)