A bright, sunny, chilly day lies sprawled across the slope of the field as it slides imperceptibly down to the river. Snow has gone, disclosing the leaves where they fell, and branches and twigs from the weight of the last heavy snow. Nina has taken the goats for a walk, and is busy raking up spots in the garden, where seeds she has ordered are destined to go.

Mother’s Beach, with Lord’s Point in the background, on Sunday, March 22. Dan King photo

The river sparkles in the afternoon sun on its way back to the sea.

I remember last summer, around 2 in the afternoon, just sitting out on the deck and reading some nonsense. I noticed a woman in her 50s, struggling up the rise from the river. As she approached, she said she and her husband needed some help. They had paddled their kayak up the river with the incoming tide, but could not paddle hard enough against the current to get back down the river through the narrow stretch that lies along our part.

When I asked where her husband was, she said he was sitting in the kayak at the edge of the river, and holding onto a rock. I invited her to come up on the deck and sit for a while, but she said she had to get back to her husband.

I assured her that in just another 20 or 25 minutes, the river would stop its flow, pause for moment, and then turn and begin flowing back to the sea whence it came, taking them along in their kayak as easily as it had born them up from the sea.

My instinct was to tell her that it’s not so much that tide and time wait for no man, but rather that no man can slow nor hurry the tide, and time marches on at its own pace, and not yours. But I just smiled and told her to wait out the 20 minutes.

She thanked me, and returned to the river and her husband, still sitting in the kayak and bravely holding onto the shore, and all was well forevermore. There was no mention in the newspaper on days that followed about a man and a woman swept out to sea on a kayak, so I suppose the tide actually paused, turned, and carried them back to where they had first got into their kayak.

If you come from a great city, where much is scheduled and planned, routed, channeled and controlled for your convenience, confronting an endless mass of cold water relentlessly unaware of your presence must be a scary thing indeed.

The sea and the sky have no control buttons for play, pause or rewind, no pre-sets and no on-off switch.

Orrin Frink is a Kennebunkport resident.

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