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Kettle Cove in Winter, Cape Elizabeth

One of my fondest memories is the evening my Book Club met for happy hour on the point of grass, above rugged rocks and waves, lit by the most gorgeous waning sunshine, at Kettle Cove in Cape Elizabeth. It was August when we were wishing well to Kristen as she and her family were embarking on a now-ten-year adventure of moving to India to teach.

Laney brought a coffee table, an Oriental rug, pillows to lounge on…and Sangria. Julie and Kim brought the lobsters and steamers. We each brought striped beach chairs and sunglasses. Our window was short-lived because once the glorious sun began to set, mosquitoes drove us out fast.

Despite that wonderful memory, I seem to go to Kettle Cove more in winter than summer. And on a December morning, the day before Christmas Eve, it dawned bright and sunny in Maine. Through the big windows of my house, it seemed warm, but I’ve been a Mainer, heading outside in winter, long enough to know not to trust the indoor temperature for what lies beyond my front porch.

Donning two jackets and my new awesome fake-fur-lined mittens from L.L. Bean, we headed to Kettle Cove. My husband leaves his corporate office most days to eat his lunch there, but I don’t go as often as he does.

This morning at Kettle Cove was about the most gorgeous I’ve seen. Certainly as beautiful, in a winter-way, as happy hour with my Book Club so many years ago. Winter air in Maine is fresh and crisp. I believe I’m never sick because I come to the Cove and the beach and trudge anywhere outdoors, every day, in winter. I soak in the sunshine and fresh air. I breathe deeply.

A surfer pulled his board out of the back of his Subaru. “Ooooh – chilly,” I thought.

As we began walking across the wooden bridge, over sand, we could hear the surfer coming up behind us…running. We stepped aside to let him pass. Then, as we reached the top of the rocks, in the spot furthest out before the property turns private, we got a glimpse of him still running, way out on the point, his board tucked under his arm. The sunlight streaming over the waves made him go in and out of our vision. What was he doing? we wondered.

Winter surfers are not uncommon at the beaches of Maine....but not out at the point of Kettle Cove.

Mesmerized, we stood on the rocks, watching and waiting. Surely, he wasn’t surfing out there.

High seas from last night’s full moon and the recent downpours created higher than normal waves, but that couldn’t be safe out there. The reason the waves crash so violently there at the point, far out to sea, is due to the ledge just beneath the surface.

Suddenly, two other surfers came running up the same path, veered onto private property and followed the first man to the point, their steps lightly touching down as they hurried across the slippery rocks.

My husband said he’d take me to Higgins Beach to watch the surfers. He was ready to keep walking the frozen foot paths at Kettle Cove. I told him no - I wanted to watch these “extreme” surfers.

Surely, these guys were taking the sport up a notch to dive in from the ledges rather than walk in at the beach. They were going big!

From our vantage point, we saw them pummeled by the crashing waves, coming one after the other, amidst swirling white foam.

At an earlier Christmas-time at Kettle Cove, we remembered seeing a fishing boat come ashore, toting a Christmas tree and a family, pausing just long enough for a quick photo. Now that’s going to be an awesome holiday card, I had thought.

This morning, the sun was so bright that the surfers came in and out of my vision. Their small black heads, like seals, so far from my vantage point popped up and then disappeared.

I was so happy we chose to head to the Cove, rather than the mall on that cold pre-Christmas-Eve morning. Our shopping had long-since been done, thankfully. That’s how we roll. We like to spend our days off, in nature, exploring the coast of Maine, chatting softly about our dreams and life’s big questions, chewing, pondering, learning respectfully from each other.

Sunshine on my face, beauty in my sight-line, the freshness of the salt air – unparalleled when living Maine seasons.

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