Have you ever paused to float on your back in the middle of a pond? Did you cry out in excitement for the feelings you couldn't hold inside? Out on a lake, with the surface as my pillow, I am the closest I can possibly get to being a part of this earth. I am the smallest speck, yet I am giant enough to hug the sky.
My legs and arms are bobbing buoys on the water. My hair streams around my ears, sways behind my head. I close my eyes, and I am falling! I must be drowning! Open them again, and nothing new has happened but for the peaceful smile to fill my face.
If infinity exists, it must be like floating on the freshwater waves, with tingling cheeks angled towards the clouds - it has to be.
Upon returning to my horse-shoe shaped island, I found everything as I had left it. I mean, the movie store on Main Street didn't sell penny candy anymore, someone had removed the swing set from my old backyard, and the muffins in Hannaford were where the seafood used to be displayed. But the narrow town streets were still the same playground I'd known at the ages of three, six, nine. The houses, harbours, and people hadn't really changed, so I couldn't understand why I felt like the puzzle piece that just didn't fit.
I fell back into the arms of friends, going out to the (only) movie theatre, or for cones of salted caramel ice cream. I stopped at the school to recreate my memories of primary days: I flew back and forth on the swings until I was a third grader once more, imagining I was Amelia Earhart. I drove around and around, as one is ought to do on a tiny island connected by tiny communities, revisiting beaches, trails, and shops. My heart cried out at every turn, for I couldn't look anywhere without seeing a ghost from my childhood.
I'd thought for so long that being back in Maine - my Maine - would prove how much of a mistake it was to have been taken away from it. I feverishly waited to be returned to where I still so badly belonged.
I didn't rediscover who I was in Maine. Instead, I realized who I'd grown to be apart from it. I was expecting to clearly see all of the routes my life should have taken if I'd stayed, but I only saw the many ways I was grateful for how my life did go. My past showed me how truly awesome my present is. I thought I was Maine's missing piece, but really, going back to Maine filled the lost place in me.