As I look back at last week I think it served as great practice for living in the moment. I explored the beauty of Owls Head Lighthouse and rocky beach area. I walked into town most days, window shopped and sat drinking coffee on the sidewalk observing the “tourists” as well as natives. But the highlight of the week was the three days of volunteering at the Maine Lobster Festival.
My job at two different gates was to put the bracelet on folks after they paid to get in. In case you are not aware the festival just finished its 68th year and goes on for five days and is located in Harbor Park in Rockland. It is an amalgam of entertainment, food, carnival rides and a large number of artist and craft booths as well as children’s activities. This year the USS Tortuga Navy ship anchored in the harbor and attendees were ferried out for tours. Also, a young woman lobsterman and a young fisherman tied their boats up to one dock and talked with folks about their life and work. Both the Navy ship and the talking with those who supply seafood were huge hits.
Working at the gate for four hour shifts gave me a great opportunity to greet people and find out where they traveled from to the festival. They were from everywhere including Europe and Canada. I met a couple from Italy and people from California, Arizona, Wisconsin, Florida, Texas, and even Virginia Beach where some of my family live. I do think most states were represented. It is amazing how a brief interaction putting a paper bracelet around a wrist can even briefly establish a heart connection. As the mix of ages, gender, ethnicity and culture walked into the Festival there were many smiles and I was uplifted as I said many times “Have fun!”. And for me the focus was on that with no thoughts of back home or the next day or even the next minute.
The Navy sailors and Marines coming off the ship for shore leave were also a blend but most seemed so young. Time after time it was “How are you ma’m” or “Thank you, ma’m” and at some point I realized I could be the grandmother of most of them (and when did that happen?). But the most poignant moment for me with the military was looking out on the ramp that folks took to the boat ferrying them out to the Navy ship and seeing a young woman sailor with an AK-47 cradled in her arms as part of security. It was a moment of gratitude and heartbreak.
Being in the moment fostered camaraderie with those who volunteered with me. Some were local, some from other parts of the country including sailors who volunteered. There was much laughter and suspension of judgement as we stood in the energy of the sun and the wonderful waterfront. In moments when the incoming crowds thinned there was time to chat and find out a little about each other. We were all so different yet thrown together in the exuberance and craziness of the festival. But I also realized I was feeling compassion while being detached from the stories and the typical political infighting of a group running such a huge enterprise. It reminded me so much is the same wherever you are and that brought more laughter for me.
The Lobster Festival now is added to the many gifts I am receiving here. And the funniest part is I am not a festival attending person usually as the crowds, fried food smells and energy are too much. So what a joke on me that getting immersed in the moment allowed joy to move in and little thought was given to any negatives. It was the adults and children I touched as I affixed bracelets to their arms that stirred me, lifted me up and kept me experiencing the present moment.
Are you practicing living in the moment or is it already easy for you? What do you think this adds to your life?
A few pictures from the week.