Beautiful Place by the Sea
by Mel Waldman
Before the crepuscular beings rose with the rising sun,
dreaming of a better place —
a place of peace and beauty, perhaps, bestowed upon the
I left Brooklyn, my dark home and mysterious womb of
and traveled north!
On the road, I listened to the news and discovered that a
I had barely escaped the devastating storm that had
On my journey, I also heard rumors about Ogunquit, Maine.
beautiful place by the sea.
Enchanted by these seductive tales, I drove to Ogunquit,
I arrived in Ogunquit in pitch-black darkness and got a room
The first night I ate supper up the road and to the right at
The following morning, I walked north along Main Street. At
Josias Park which looked like a sinister, impenetrable forest.
continued along Shore Road. At a turning point, there was a
Perkins Cove, a small, picturesque harbor of majestic beauty.
Near the harbor, in a corner of Oarweed Cove, I discovered the
winds along the granite cliffs for over a mile.
I strolled along the Marginal Way
The sprawling sun seemed to cover me beneath a glorious canopy
On the way, I passed other travelers moving in both directions.
From time to time, I sat on a memorial bench (there were thirty
the overwhelming beauty surrounding me.
The turquoise ocean was tranquil and the calm sky was azure and
Nearby, I noticed evergreen and birch trees. The evergreens rose
like ancient centurions guarding the way to the King’s palace,
After resting serenely, I continued on my journey.
powerful wind appeared and swept across the Marginal Way.
smelling pink and white sea roses and other fragrant flowers.
The sky became dark and sinister, like an El Greco painting, a
I meandered along the Marginal Way and rushed slowly toward
unwilling to escape from a dark storm that seemed imminent.
And the Darkness passed. The storm never arrived. I saw it in the
covered the town again.
Soon, I came to the end (or the beginning) of the Marginal Way,
beauty, spanning over three miles of pristine white sand.
I swallowed the seascape and sauntered off to the center of town.
I wandered through the town, discovering jazz-restaurants, art galleries,
Eventually, I ate a late lunch at Bessie’s on Main Street. Then I strolled
and sat for a few minutes on a bench on River Road overlooking the Ogunquit River.
I watched men and women standing and fishing in the middle of the river.
Soon, I drifted off to the beach and watched a golden sunset.
Afterwards, I had an early dinner on the patio at the Blue Water Inn
A few folks were still fishing after sunset, and they seemed vibrant,
Vicariously, I imagined the heat of the sun spreading across my weary
Later, I returned to the center of town and drifted from place to place.
The town swallowed me as I listened to its haunting and familiar melodies.
hypnotized by the seductive, surreal beats and rhythms of this mystical place.
When I awakened the next morning, I was immersed in a haunting sea of
I returned to Perkins Cove.
I browsed around a quaint little art gallery and the owner suggested I visit the
She gave me directions and I thanked her. But once I left the gallery, I got lost.
A tall, thin man dressed in black smiled at me and asked me if I was lost.
I crossed a draw-footbridge that spans the entrance to Perkins Cove.
Slowly, I approached the center of the bridge. Then I stopped to take in the
and leaped backwards as the bridge opened up.
Soon, a high-masted boat passed through, entering the charming little harbor.
I crossed over to the other side. I turned left and walked along a narrow path.
until I came to Shore Road. On Shore Road, I turned left and in the distance,
The Ogunquit Museum of American Art is nestled in a meadow overlooking
Beautiful and grotesque sculptures adorn the pristine meadow.
Before entering OMAA, called “the most beautiful little museum in the world,”
The powerful piece, immersed in darkness, seemed to beckon me.
As I approached it, I was turned on and terrified.
& in a state of dynamic flux-flowing and evolving
creepy and other-worldly.
I stepped back and scurried off to OMAA. But I had entered an altered state
In this dreamlike state, I entered OMAA.
In the distance, my frenzied eyes darted across the main gallery.
elongated room and into the vast ocean beyond.
I plunged into the Abyss!
When I returned, I had lost time. Half an hour had passed.
I could not recall what had happened during this weird episode of missing time.
My body felt strange, too, and I had difficulty breathing. Soon I was gasping for air,
I scurried to the bathroom and spat out a torrent of cascading water.
Afterwards, I sauntered off, discovering the oils and watercolors of Jamie Wyeth,
Later, after leaving OMAA, I sat on a bench near the entrance and gazed at the
Once again, the metallic sculpture seemed to beckon me.
A familiar voice cried out: “Would you like me to take a picture of you
I turned around and saw the tall, thin man dressed in black who had given
“No!” I said with much emotion as images of fire and ice assaulted my mind.
And then I looked closely at the emaciated, ghostly man.
“No thank you!”
He smiled sardonically and sauntered off.
That night I dreamed of the Man of Assisi and the skeletal stranger dressed in black.
I never returned to OMAA. But the dark Spirit I discovered there remains ensconced
And the rest of my stay in Ogunquit was phantasmagoric-endlessly dreamlike and dark.
Ogunquit is a beautiful place by the sea. Yet after viewing the Man of Assisi,
It drowned my soul in a sea of terror.
I left in the middle of a surreal night. I drove south and headed home.
I slowed down to pick up the stranger. But when I recognized his face
Now, I’ve been driving for many hours. It seems I’m lost. Did I make a wrong turn?
I’m no longer on Route 1. And I’m not on I-95 South. Don’t see any signs to Brooklyn, New York.
I’m lost on a dark, winding country road.
In the distance, I see a man on the side of the road.
When I slow down, the stranger rushes in front of my car and around to the
It’s the same man-the skeletal man from Ogunquit!
I’m about to drive off again. But a compelling voice inside commands me to stop
What shall I do on this surreal night?
I gaze at the stranger standing outside my car. And now, I see...
I see the Man of Assisi and he’s pounding on the window.
I close my eyes for a few eternal seconds. Slowly, I open them
I am about to drive off. But the ghostly stranger leaps in front of my car.
the gas pedal.
The tall, thin man in black waves at me and then brandishes a camera.
Then he looks through the camera and points it at me.
I am safe. Because...
Next to me, the Man of Assisi sits still.
We are a tableau vivant!
Lost on a dark, winding country road, on this eternal surreal night,
And the familiar stranger points the camera at us.
proper moment to snap a dark picture...
Frozen, I gaze into the omnipotent
beautiful place by the sea.
Copyright © 2007 by Mel Waldman