Only recently did I go through my photo collection and realized during my first trip to the U.S., how much snapshots I took especially during my two-week stay in Maine. Some of it breathtaking even to me, and others just knockoffs. It’s too bad I never got to be a photographer for National Geographic or maybe a celebrity magazine like the Rolling Stone.
Picture me for the first time miles from home. hundreds of miles across the Atlantic over in the U.S. in the state of Maine. The ride from Boston to Maine was a long one, no doubt. I was practically dozing by the time we drove into the New England state. To tell the truth, my eyes hadn’t being this open since I boarded my flight from Lagos, Nigeria and landed a day later at JFK Int. You’ve got to be awake to see all of that happen, at least since it’s the first time. Everything pretty much looked like I was watching a 3D movie. An added bonus was it was the middle of summer. Yet in New England, I couldn’t help feeling the cold dig into my skin. Maybe it’s because I’m an African. When you’re in Africa, the sun is just about your best friend. You don’t get to see the snow while back home. Hell, you don’t even know what snow really is except what you see on TV.
So coming to the U.S., was as much reality check for me than anything else. I might as well have donned a space suit and say I’m off to Mars.
The city is called Bath. A quaint and quiet place that had more mature population than they had young ones. Sometimes when I walked the streets wearing my Nigerian outfit, I felt so out of place like a lot of folks there hadn’t seen a black man before. Worse, that they hadn’t met one who hailed from the Motherland. But that’s just me talking. Needless to say, I had a wonderful time being in a foreign land. Almost made me wish I wasn’t returning home at all.
A Walk through Bath, Maine. Pt. 1
I walk out of the house and stand in the drive-way
This happened the first day
And I knew right away
I wasn’t anywhere near home, hardly so
This wasn’t a land I thought I know:
The air smells different
The wind acts like its my friend
And to my amazement, though the sun was high in the sky
I wasn’t breaking into a sweat!
I went for a walk down the city streets
Past the bridge with cars speeding under my feet
There’s people walking by, driving cars or riding bikes
Neither having the same skin as I
Though they too share a smile just like mine.
The streets slopped up and down my feet
wide and zebra-crossed, they almost seemed to feel
Shops to my left and right, my eyes won’t stop their roaming spree
I sight a bookshop around the corner – my heart takes a leap
There is an old lady seated behind the counter
She welcomes me with a smile
I leave with a purchase, we wave and smile to each other as I depart.
I walk to the direction of the river
Blue and pristine: the color of summer
There’re families sitting together and lovers strolling by
A copy of Ralph Ellison’s ‘The Invincible Man‘ is in my hand
My lips taste the smell of the river’s water;
Soon, this dream will end and I will come awake
And all this will fade away
This Garden of Eden.
But for now, my mind rests
And my body relaxes in happiness.