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Chance Encounters

“Throw your dreams into space like a kite, and you do not know what it will bring back, a new life, a new friend, a new love, a new country.”
― Anaïs Nin

Just a while before sunset today, I raced (which is to say crawled with great anticipation) up the winding road of Cadillac Mountain in hopes of capturing a sunset shot from the summit. Even as the gears shifted, fog was beginning to shroud the mountain before me.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with weather in Maine, let me tell you it can be fickle.  Double goes for this mountain.  Pay no attention to the conditions elsewhere on the island.  The top of Cadillac can be the stuff of dreams OR nightmares.   As I drove, I passed one clear overlook which was inundated with cars and tourists with cameras. I continued my ascent in hopes of spotting a break in the mist. At the top, I saw only one other car, barely visible in the pea soup. I walked around a bit looking for my window of opportunity. None came. Full of disappointment, I sulked back toward my vehicle, when suddenly, a young woman approached me. She asked for a ride down the mountain. I blanched. I don’t give rides to strangers! rang through my head.  She said she had hiked up but now darkness would soon be upon her and she was quite cold. Hesitantly, I asked where she is staying. Jordan Pond House. Ahhh. An employee? Not this year but last. This year she is just visiting before heading to Germany in a couple of weeks. Having recently read passages noting how disconnected we have all become gave me pause. Strangers don’t speak anymore, much less look one another in the eye. What little nugget of wisdom might be missed? What gem would never come into my life if I passed up every chance to meet someone new much less help another in need? I overcame my fear and agreed to give her a ride. As we began descending the mountain, we talked about her other travels. Then suddenly I saw a bright spot in the sky. Quickly, I pulled the car over (ok, I practically yanked it off the road), grabbed a camera, and walked in the direction of Blue Hill. The fog had momentarily retreated and the late day sun, barely peeking over a ridge,  strongly illuminated the landscape below. In just a few minutes, we were again enveloped by an eery curtain. Roxie and I joked about the fingers of mist appearing as something out of a Stephen King novel (Maine IS his home ya know).  Back in the warmth of the car, my companion and I chatted about many things including travel and living dreams while young and free.   We each confessed how scared we were to ride together.  Either of us could have been dangerous.  She encouraged me to still take that backpacking trip across Europe–even at my age. She told me of a special place in Hawaii which just MUST be experienced. She expressed gratitude for my  “sage” advice. As I delivered her safely to the doorstep of her lodging, I gave her my card and wished her a safe journey. Now, hours later, as I edit my photos, I realize that I would have missed that brief moment of sunset in the clouds had it not been for the delay my new friend created while convincing me to give her a lift. While I was thrilled to get a few shots, I am truly grateful for the entire encounter. It restored my faith in other people and in myself.  What a gem indeed.

Be nice to each other,

Lyana

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