When my brother and I were young, our parents would take us each summer to a new place in the country where we could swim and fish and do vacation-type things.

One of the most fun activities was searching for locations where we could generate and hear loud and resounding echoes. We would stand on the shores of lakes or on hillsides or mountaintops, yelling into the void, hoping to hear our voices repeated as our shouts bounced off the landscape.

We’d yell out “Yohhhh-ooooooooooh” or “Ekkkkk-oooooooooooooh” and then wait that anticipatory second to see if our mighty 10-year-old voices could be heard reverberating in a way both magical and inspiring.

Causing an echo to boom out over the area allowed us kids to feel important and powerful. Power is in short supply when you’re a pipsqueak from the suburbs of Long Island, New York. And when we did succeed in finding a good spot, we’d carefully listen and then count how many times our voices bounced around and came back to us. Six or seven echoes around the shore of a lake or off a hillside was thrilling.

In my adult years, I’ve had the privilege of living on a hill overlooking Muscongus Bay, eight miles from Damariscotta, at the end of a road. Our hillside faces east, down to the water – a perfectly situated and very quiet locale for producing echoes across a swath of islands and salt water. It’s so quiet that I’ve occasionally heard the ghostly deep moans of a whistle buoy some 12 miles or so offshore, near Monhegan, and I can sometimes hear the distant whistle of a train going through Newcastle, nine miles away.

It was only this month, however, that I had my greatest echo-producing experience, and it happened at the end of an uphill hike in Baxter State Park, at the stunning location of Chimney Pond. While the pond itself is quite small, it sits directly below the base of the truly imposing Katahdin ridge top, some 2,400 feet higher than the pond and several miles wide. From the pond’s edge you can look up and see the tiny silhouettes of distant hikers crossing the infamous Knife Edge.

When I positioned myself at the shoreline, facing one edge of the ridge top, I let out a huge bellowing “Yohhhhh – oooooohhh,” and was absolutely thrilled to hear an echo traveling from one side of that gigantic mountainous wall across to the other, on and on, for nine fabulous seconds.

Echoes don’t last long. They’re like the ripples on a still pond after you throw a rock out in the center. Is the pond the same afterward? Is the mountain the same after a yell?

For most of us, the evidence of our being here fades like an echo, dying out after a few reverberations, a few generations. We look for a beautiful place to stand, and we give a mighty shout, not knowing how far it will go or for how long, always hoping, however, to show the world that we exist.