Monday, October 14, 2030 – Portland, Maine, United States of America
It’s another beautiful fall day in Portland, Maine, where I’m writing from today rather than back home in Boston. Today is Indigenous Peoples Day, or what we used to call Columbus Day back when I was a child. I still remember when I first learned about the horrible atrocities Christopher Columbus and other Europeans committed against the Indigenous people they encountered when they arrived in what we now call the Americas. I’m glad to have learned the truth, and I’m glad we honor Indigenous peoples now on this day.
Today is also my 47th birthday. Since my friends, partner, and I have a long holiday weekend, we’re celebrating by enjoying the fall colors, outdoor activities, and amazing cafés, restaurants, and bars Maine has to offer. In fact, since the holiday weekend often overlaps with my birthday, this trip has been a tradition every year since 2017. Well, I guess except for 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic.
My favorite part of this trip has always been admiring the passing landscapes on our way to and around Maine. Our views of the coastlines and fall leaves have always been breathtaking, even if they’ve changed a bit over the years. When we first began making the trip in 2017, we didn’t realize how the small windows in our old cars restricted our views. A few years later, when we switched to taking the train to reduce the environmental impact of our trip, we loved the way the train’s large windows—and the lack of distractions from driving—made the views that much better. But taking the train did prevent us from visiting more rural parts of the state, so in the last few years we’ve been taking the train to Portland and renting electric vehicles to venture away from the train route. With panoramic windows and self-driving capabilities, these new electric vehicles have made the trip more enjoyable, safer, and cheaper and have enabled us to visit once again the farms and cideries we used to.
Our views of Maine’s fall landscapes and shorelines have changed in other ways as well. Wind turbines now extend above the trees and dot the coasts, and solar panels are increasingly common on roadways, train lines, and buildings. Some people—both locals and visitors—have objected to the installations, complaining about how they look. I don’t mind them, though; in fact, I kind of like the constant reminders of the tradeoffs we’re making in our relationship with nature.
Alright, we’re about to drop off the rental car and have dinner before we catch the train back to Boston tonight. While I’m sad another fall holiday weekend in Maine is coming to a close, I’m grateful for this annual leaf-peeping pilgrimage and the time well spent with friends in such a beautiful place.