Almost Maine

First Day Off… First Day off in 68 days, but who’s counting? And, next to that day, are nine other blissful days without work..or student texts…or emails..or…oh wait, work never leaves.IMG_9209

Portrait Mode, Full Auto:  Frenchman Bay, Maine 1:22pm: On my “vacation” to Maine, I find myself blissfully almost-disconnected, though “my” kids never quite vacate my mind.  This vacation we decided to “rough it” in a little cabin in Acadia National Forrest, along “Frenchman’s Bay.” The combined beauty of the ocean and the forrest, is truly, unprecedented.  My wife calls this beauty “invisible universities,” or the “educational and magical wonders that are free if you open your eyes.” There are lots of universities of that sort here! You can imagine gnomes and fairies residing a grasp away, every inch of their homes blanketed with multi-colored moss. Miniature red and orange mushrooms and microscopic moss IMG_9046flowers pepper the beds of moss making these fantastical homes sparkle when you look closely. The bay is ‘wicked’ cold and misty, right out of a painting–ships roll in, sail masts “float” in the fog like ghosts in the morning..the smell of wet everywhere…beautiful.IMG_9042

Playback Mode: Boulder, CO: On one such mornings, I gathered myself, a cup of tea and blanket to sit near the water and watched the lobster boats wake up. At my feet, a tiny nest of sorts fell, perhaps a chickadee, or other small bird… or fairy! I looked around, and thought “Where is Eliana when I need her?” My beautiful student, Eliana, almost an adult now would have  loved to see the little fairy nest–we would have created a whole story together in worlds of imaginations, how the nest came to be, what fairies and other miniature creatures live there, and most importantly, their relationships and daily routines. “Oh how I miss the kids!” I thought to myself.

Full Manual Mode, Zoom in:  Frenchman Bay, Maine 1:24pm:“A MOOSE!!!” I yelled at the top of my lungs, and it didn’t move!

It was low tide and you could walk on the ouchy rocks to the uncovered islands…the moose seem to have the same idea–but it wasn’t walking, it was just moving up and down in the mud…IMG_8968

“THAT’S not a moose!” my wife laughed…it’s a “cohogger”

“A What?” I exclaimed.. primarily because in my mind I reversed her “c” and “h” in the term which seemed pretty hysterical at the time.

“A person searching/digging for clams, they see the bubbles in the mud and dig quickly to get the clams!” She responded.

I imagined that is very different then “ho-cogging” I thought to myself…. Either way, I really thought it was a moose, and was disappointed it was this hogging thing instead! I thought about what Troupe would say,


Playback Mode, Manual: Superior,CO: “Hey Kari remember you almost saw a moose?” Their snark would resound.


Still made me smile thinking of their playful critique and hearty laughs. I’m the subject of older troupes, favorite thing to make fun of primarily because I give them so much
material to choose from.. the time I ran out in the rain to cover my convertible with an umbrella, the time I poured salt instead of sugar in my newly-made cup of  tea, numerous walls I’ve walked into, and now, “Kari saw a moose…” NOT! Oh, they will have a blast with that one….Coby especially.



Playback Mode: Frenchman Bay, Maine 1:30pm:Sailing, kayaking, biking and hiking here fill our last days in Maine… I’ve learned that “hiking” here, is very different than “hiking” in Boulder. A “Strenuous” hike consists of a steady incline for about three miles through meadows, forrest, carriage roads and rock gardens. In boulder, I think IMG_9071twice about “Strenuous” hikes, as they are usually full-day, thousands feet inclines and hot! In Maine I seem in-shape and fit! Ha! I love this state! The kids would love these hikes, the overlooks and cliffs are  great landing spots for dreamers and thinkers alike. I quickly envisioned taking all the kids up to Acadia for a week of “Reel Kids Acadia” fun! The hiking, canoeing, cooking, and of course bond fires would be such a happy experience.

Macro Mode, Freeze Frame: Brain Tangent, Bar Harbor, Maine, 1:40pm: I am glad I am on vacation but I equally miss my kids and wish I could bring them to this part of the world! There aren’t enough hours or years to show my students everything I want to, or teach them, or even spend time with them. Time is an invaluable resource. I blinked, and then my sweet innocent “kids” are now edging on high school or beyond–I had so much left to teach..I FullSizeRenderguess that’s just a taste of what parents feel everyday. “If we only did this,” or “I wish we took them there” or “I wish we could freeze this moment in time.” Now,  I understand a little, and have so much respect for the parents of my students, it’s hard to let the kids go. I think if I were a parent I would be so strict my kids would hate me, just because I would want to spend ever second with them, and not miss a moment! I think that’s what neat about being a teacher, you get to experience things with students without the stress of parenting… I laughed out loud thinking about  when I return students from a day of camp at Reel Kids, and they are hyper-high on life and performing and all smiles… Parents pick them up and look at me like “what am I going to do with all this energy!!!” I respond with “Now they are your problem! I only get them a couple hours a week!” That’s why you feed kids sugar before they leave for home, but not when they arrive to camp! lol, again, I wouldn’t be a great parent, but I love teaching “my” kids!

Landscape Mode, panoramic: Acadia National Forrest, Maine 1:45pm: Hiking through the now-meadow I found endless daisies. The ones you would make Midsommer Crowns with–Of course, I thought of Ellie, my model-esk student who has long, red, ringlet locks. I could make the most romantic hairstyle with her hair and all these IMG_9060daisies! She would look like a Waterhouse painting… I wonder how she’s doing? I miss Ellie.  Running through the meadow, I look down, the grass is two different colors–one when it blows east and darker when it blows west, or is that just the light? Zoom In: hm..must be an mirage, this bi-colored dancing grass, SNAP! I broke a branch with my clunky hiking boots and out emerged a baby deer.. West coast deer look like mules compared to Maine bambi’s… The baby frolicked by, looking back at me only for a final “why did you disturb my naptime” effect. Soon, all I could see was its tiny, white -spotted torso leaning down to drink from  the neighboring brook, so beautiful, Bambi in real life! I did get a blurry picture. Little Megan would love this Bambi look alike, I bet she’s grown two inches since I’ve last seen her! I can’t wait to show her the picture 🙂

Mode off: Road to Portland, Maine, end of vacation. 9:27am: 

Well, vacation is almost over,  I find myself posting about Maine, wishing I could bring IMG_9167some of my work TO Maine. “Leaving work behind,” is an expression for people who hate what they do… I’ll never leave it behind, because I have the best job in the world! Ironically,  next week at Reel Kids, we start the production “Almost Maine,” a hysterical play that premiered in Portland a little over ten years ago. I can’t wait to bring my Maine experience into this production with all the funny “isms” of “Maine-ers” and cultural differences.  That’s what theater is about–bringing your personal experience, creating and collaborating! Perhaps some day I can bring Reel Kids to Maine to experience all the beauty of this area, but for now I will share an “Almost Maine.”

“Almost Maine” Performs August 11th-12th at Reel Kids MainStage in Superior, Co