Don't know much about geometry. But I do know this: Summer = Vacation. It's a simple algebraic equation. What's more complicated is actually going somewhere. The task of leaving behind a desk piled high with pendaflexes and "TO DO" lists is more challenging than explaining a Pythagorean theorem.
If the President of the United States could take a break, why not moi? After all, he's got issues on his plate from international espionage to IRS chaos. I figured if he could put his White House problems on hold to take the First Family to Africa, surely I could escape my dreary desk for a week in America.
Now I tend to take my summer vacations in spots with three or more syllables. I'd already researched destinations from Anguilla to Zanzibar.
But I soon came to my senses when I realized that:
a) I don't have access to Air Force 1;
b) I need massive doses of dramamine just for a bus trip to Atlantic City;
c) My cat chewed up the expiration date on my passport.
So I decided the only patriotic thing to do was declare independence from my own office labor, and head for New England solitude.
But where exactly? Choosing a location, scrounging up old tourist bureau maps and creating itineraries demands the perseverance of a horse whisperer and the patience of a Buddhist monk.
It hit me while watching Forrest Gump for the 39th time, running across the country, stopping at the Marshall Point Lighthouse. I 'd head for Maine - the state of blueberries, pine trees, lobsters, and moose - selecting only three-syllable spots, of course.
• Tanzania vs. Maine-ia - Okay, so Tanzania's national animal may be the giraffe, but you can't beat the sight of a Maine moose, now can you?
• O-GUN-QUIT - In native Indian Abenaki language, Ogunquit means beautiful place across the sea. When I first saw OGM on a t-shirt I thought it was a dyslexic spin on OMG. Nope. It stood for O.G.unquit, M.aine.
• North West vs North East - The compass may be good for directions, but not for baby names. Kim & Kanye came up with North, so I figured I'd give it a Kardashian whirl - and head North East, so as not to compete with the new kid in town, North West.
• Blue Crane vs. Blueberry - South Africa's got the blue crane; Northern Maine has the blueberry. Cranes are elegant, but blueberries are divinely jam-worthy.
• Senegal vs Stonington (Zen Royale) - Ooh la la! The French colony of Senegal boasts the lovely port of Dakar, but in Stonington Harbor one can stare out at the lobster fishermen, and reach a meditative state of Zen extraordinaire.
• No Quarreling over Quarrying - both South Africa's Desert Rose and Stonington's Crotch Island Quarry have enough pink granite to cover all the kitchen countertops in the Presidential Cabinet.
• Insane Tweeting vs Maine Retreating - Enough hoopla over inappropriate tweets at celebrity funerals. Go find a quiet island retreat with no cell service. Try Isle au Haut, Halibut Ledge, or Menigawum.
• Pinetree vs. Baobab - Maine's the pine tree state; Senegal's the baobab tree country. Pine needles can be used for tea and composting, baobab seeds for medicinal herbs. Take your holistic pick.
• Kennebunkport vs. Dakar port - Both have craggy coastlines facing the vast Atlantic, but Dakar's Gorￃﾩe Island has the "door of no return" for slave trade; in Kennebunkport the door is always open. To quote Lauren Bush, "No matter what happens in life you can always return to Kennebunkport."
• Mobsters vs Lobsters - There have been sightings of mafia in Capetown, but we're talking textiles, not organized crime. Watch out Ralph Lauren, Mobsters Men's Clothing is expanding in Pretoria, South Africa. Better get the bibs out for Lobstah from Matinicus to Monhegan.
• Loons & Loops - The cry of the loon is one of the most haunting on earth as it circles the New England skies. And, speaking of circles, as one President Bush (43) headed to Tanzania, I headed to the home of Bush 41: Kennebunkport.
• TBC Africa vs. TBC Kennebunkport
Transnet Bargaining Council is a South African labor union for collective bargaining. The Tides Beach Club is a Kennebunkport site that needs no bargaining whatsoever. Stress dissolves at the 1899 jasmine yellow "grand dame" house glinting tones of aqua, coral and bossa nova. Jogging the sandbar stretch along Goose Rocks Beach, I felt the infinity of time, life, tides and summer.
Given: Logic was tossed out; random elements of drizzle and fog swept in to my summer equation. Up with espresso, swaddled in fleece, I opted for porch sitting and listening to the waves. Virtuoso conductor/ manager Damien floats through the inn, orchestrating trapezoids of tranquility like a math wizard.
Onward to Hidden Pond, where I soaked in the pine fragrance of Robert Frost-ish woodsy Treehouse rooms. Pausing at the stone fireplace nook, staring at the ethereal apple tree chandelier and cylindrical shapes of sliced tree geodes cut from local forests, I felt beamed in from another galaxy.
But the algebraic theory was proven: I was down on geo-metric Earth, a farm to fork dining formula - a triangular blend of balsam, birch and bonfire.
Still don't know much about geometry, but I do know it's a simple equation: Summer = Vacation in Maine. And that's just one syllable.