What’s the Maine Thing?

When I was young, my parents, my brother and I traveled with Raymond Smullyan. Raymond was a mathematician, logician, writer, classical musician, and—most important from my child’s eyes perspective—a magician who was adept at slight of hand. He’d spent time performing on the stage, where he was known as “Five-Aces Merlin.” 

In small seaside villages in Greece, Raymond, with his flowing beard and long white hair, would pull coins from the ears of fishermen. His patter was quite convincing, and at least some of the locals grew afraid of Raymond as a “real” magician.

In the long and otherwise boring car rides through the Scottish highlands, Raymond would entertain and tease to the point of torment us kids with his “What is the main thing to do in Scotland?” joke. We’d beg Raymond for the answer to this riddle, which after endless delays, equivocations, and shaggy dog stories was always (to our disgust) that the main thing to do in Scotland was the main thing to do in Scotland.

So, I’m excited that in a week I’ll be leaving for Maine, where once again I’ll be teaching at Maine Media in Rockport. I’m looking forward to seeing old friends, meeting inspiring students, and once again exploring mid-coast Maine, a beautiful and interesting part of the world. I guess the main thing to do in Maine is to enjoy Maine; and also, for me, to make photographs of Maine the way I see it. Of course, another “Maine thing” is to enjoy lobster rolls!

Monhegan Storm © Harold Davis
Inside the Pemaquid Lighthouse © Harold Davis
Penobscot Crossing © Harold Davis
Train Bridge, Maine © Harold Davis
Reflections in a Maine Pond © Harold Davis

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