During a late June trip to a plant store in Rockport, we drove by a lake we never paid a lot of attention to, even though we’d seen it many times. We certainly didn’t know its name – most locals don’t seem to -, not until looking at a Google map the next day. But we still don’t know where the name came from – Maces Pond seems like an odd one, and not very memorable. But no matter – swimming in it was memorable enough to write about.
It was a sunny, almost hot day, so we took a more careful look as we drove by the lake, and discovered a small parking area by the road. We pulled over. There was a short path to the lake, where we saw – well, not a beach exactly, but definitely easy access to the water. It seemed like others had been there to swim, or maybe launch a kayak or row boat or whatever other means of water transportation floats their boat, so to speak. Looking out at the calm blue water – no one was in it –, it was hard not to jump in right then and there. But we had a lot of flowers to buy, and if we didn’t buy them first, would we buy them at all? We hadn’t brought bathing suits, and walking past rows of flower containers in dripping, post-swim clothes would probably make a strange impression, unless our purpose was to water them. So we went the delayed satisfaction route and got ourselves back in the car and down the road a bit, to our destination –The Green Thumb. (No – I’m not implying we don’t like to shop for plants. Only that on a hot day, we like water even more than flowers).
The prospect of a swim was a good way to keep our flower spending under control – and to come to a relatively quick decision (in a place with that many choices, it’s never easy to decide). The sun was still out and the lake still there when we got back, just as undisturbed and inviting and empty of signs of human life as it had been before.
In we went (yes, without bathing suits, but no, not without clothes).
Aaaah, the luxury – as Siobhan likes to say. Perfect temp, no bugs or algae or leeches or clingy plants, just clear and refreshing but warm enough water to swim, no one but the two of us, surrounded by blue and green.
Aaaah the luxury! Ok, I said that already. But it bears repeating. We swam over to the other side of the lake. We would’ve made it, had it not become weedier close to the other shore, which made us wonder what else we might find in the vegetation. Leeches? Loch monsters? People tell us all kinds of stories about lake swimming in Maine. So we swam back, and sideways, and in circles, or not at all. We swam, we floated; we sunned, drifted, water jogged, and luxuriated. The thought hit us once or twice that someone could see our stuff and steal our keys and drive off with our cargo load of daisies and petunias — but it passed. Relax – we’re in Maine! Listen to the calm.
And then we drove back, convertible top down, the back seat brimming with flowers, clothes almost dry by the time we got home. We arrived before check-in time, ready for whatever else the day would bring. Because after you’ve had a good swim, you can handle almost any chaos that comes your way – including almost anything a motel with 17 rooms and potentially 34+ guests might have in store for you.
In the process of researching Maces Pond, I came across a fun website, called lakesofmaine.org. No photos, but it does have a map and some stats of Maces Pond. And while you’re finding out more about the many Maine lakes, check out Wikipedia’s “List of Lakes in Maine.” You’ll learn that Maine has “at least 2,677 lakes or ponds” without a name – and that doesn’t include two whose names start with “Unnamed!” In the lakesofmaine list, there is a Berrypatch Pond, which is also called Unnamed Pond, and an Upper Unknown Lake, Lower Unknown Lake, and Middle Unknown Lake (a group of lakes in Hancock County). And a search for “unknown ponds” yields three additional results. So it seems that Maces Pond, while not the most well-known body of water in Maine, has been deemed important by someone – important enough to have a name anyway…