“It doesn’t get any better than this” was a comment Paul heard a local resident say one weekend as they emerged from the annual Town Meeting in Montville, Maine. There’s something undeniably real and connecting when people participate with others in ways that substantively shape the social and physical landscapes that hold their lives.
Paul grew up in a small fishing village (population 421) on the coast of Maine. Aside from the Tom Sawyer-like boyhood he experienced, he had the benefit of literally knowing every person in town and they knew him as the “preacher’s son.” Community was a way of life. When the gales blew, both men and women would stand vigilant over all vessels in the harbor, and when he’d try to ride a winter ice cake across the cove, he had many surrogate parents ready to scold him back to his senses.
Perhaps it’s this shared sense of responsibility and accountability that now draws him like the tide to join a group of other seekers looking to (re)create a lifestyle based more on mending the nets together than fishing alone.
Our lives are all stories strung together and Paul’s is no different. He has woven his way through schooling and a graduate degree, a taste of military experience, creative adventures in crafting musical instruments, traditional boats, relationships, parenthood, and a continuing search for where the sweetgrass grows.
A good friend recently reminded him of the Chinese belief that an invisible red thread joins those who are destined to connect in this life. Paul and his daughter Mika are trusted that belief as they imagined and actively planned their membership in Belfast’s cohousing community. As Mika often declared, “I’ll be close to my horse, my friends, and won’t have to eat my dad’s cooking every night.” And guess what … neither will he.