Nerve, heart, and a little bit of crazy

First day of spring, Hendricks Head beach
Posted:  Monday, March 20, 2017 - 5:15pm

I live off the peninsula and often, when I am asked to do a story, I take a ride to see where I am supposed to be going the next day. Tomorrow, March 21, I'm shooting the Leprechaun Leap at Hendricks Head beach in Southport. I drove to the island today to find the beach, so I won't be driving around tomorrow panicked, wondering how I missed a turn. But my map program was spot on today, and I didn't challenge it, which I have a tendency to do, and we found our way down to Beach Road with no problem.

The Leprechaun Leap, postponed last week due to a driving blizzard, will take place at 3:30 p.m. It's an annual event to raise money for Special Olympics. It's been going on for 19 years, now. That's a lot of plunging into freezing Maine water for an amazing cause. That takes a lot of nerve and heart, and a little bit of crazy — the good kind of crazy. I’ll be shooting these fabulous crazies tomorrow.

We were talking in the office this morning about the annoying snow still lingering in pompous banks, crowding the roads, and spread like marshmallow over the fields. We weren't talking about it like that. I tend to turn a simple conversation into a pile of artsy prose. By the way, has anyone noticed how shiny the snow in the fields is? Kind of pretty, in a I'm-so-over-this kind of way.

When I reached the beach, no one was there. What a sweet little spot, and what a stunner of a day! The first day of spring did not disappoint, at least on Hendricks Head beach. The sun hit the ocean like the pro that it is. A lone seagull, the king of the beach, marched back and forth as I sat down on the wet sand to take pictures. I found a heart-shaped rock. The wavelets whispered secrets to the sand. It was dreamy, a dream in the middle of a hectic day.

I found a rock tide pool where the water was still and the seaweed wandered. The clarity was mesmerizing. Each rock looked like a precious jewel. I used to explore these pools. I used to take off my sneakers and socks and wade right in, looking for shrimp and crabs, maybe a school of little silver fish way too quick for me to catch.

Before I knew it, my shoes were off and I waded in. It was a bit chilly, but my feet didn't go numb. I'm from Maine. If my body parts don't turn blue in the water, it's warm. I photographed my fish-belly white toes a few times and decided to paint my nails when I reached home.

“Are you in the water? Are you crazy?” This from a woman who had been drawn to the beach, like me.

I told her the water wasn't bad.

She and I talked about the beautiful day. She was hoping to take a ride with her husband to Reid State Park in Georgetown. I encouraged her to get into the water, so she could say she'd done it on the first day of spring. As I walked off the beach, she called to me. She had her shoes off and was wading along the edge of the sand.

“I did it,” she called and I gave her a round of applause. Tomorrow, a lot of folks will be able to say, “I did it,” in a big way. Good luck, thank you, and hello, spring!