With my high school graduation fast approaching, I’ve been spending a lot of time looking back over the last 18 years. Having always lived in Cape Elizabeth, I know every inch of this town as well as I know the inside of my house. Some of the most memorable moments from my youth have all happened here.

Earlier this year, my English teacher asked our class to write an essay about a place that meant a lot to us.

I could have written about the waves crashing on Crescent Beach, or the rocky shores of Kettle Cove, or the famous Portland Head Light, but instead I chose to write about a place I had always dreamed of going. But now that I will be leaving in a few months for college, and all things are slowly coming to an end here, I realize there is one place that I had nearly forgotten. A place, perhaps, that I will miss the most.

Across the street from my house is Maxwell’s Farm. In the farm there is a little pathway that cuts through the fields. It’s nothing special, just a dusty, rocky road that follows the shape of the land. But to my younger self, this small dirt path led to a world where I could let my imagination run free.

On some days, my friend and I would end up in a field filled with dinosaurs, and on other days we pretended we were explorers who had just discovered a new, uncharted country. Whenever we wanted to escape to a different world, the two of us found it at the end of that pathway.

As we grew older, and grew apart, our visits to this place became much less frequent. We learned we had to share the land with the farm workers, dog walkers and the occasional four-wheelers who had discovered the pathway. After that, our secret hideaway lost some of its magic.

So many small, insignificant things happened to me there, and it almost seems silly to think about how much I will miss it. But throughout my life it has always been the one place I could go to escape reality for a little while or to clear my mind.

It may not hold the same magic it did when I was a child, but when the sun is setting over the treetops, the sky a melange of purples and pinks, and you feel as if you are the only one in the world, that is a whole other kind of magical.

I’ve spent so much of my childhood wishing I was anywhere but here. Now that I’m actually leaving, it feels as if I’m turning my back on a sense of place.

Years from now, wherever I finally land, I know that when I look back and think of my hometown, the first thing that will come to mind won’t be any of the more notable Cape Elizabeth features, but will be Maxwell’s Farm. That is my Cape Elizabeth, my sense of place.

– Special to the Telegram.