Looking ahead to 2021 with 2020 vision, Robert Mitchell has once again outdone himself. Through a dozen remarkable photos, his Around Boothbay Harbor calendar is just what we need to calm our cares as we mark off the days of the coming year. The images of local sites Mitchell selected don’t hint at the troubles of recent and coming months – a welcome change from so much of what we see.
That isn’t to say that Mitchell remains unaffected. His letter from “The Mitchell Group,” which begins each calendar with a very personal look at the year past, offers a view of a family and community that’s been impacted in significant ways by the coronavirus. However, mentions of quarantine and job losses, and even the loss of old friends, are relieved by his description and a photo of the Mitchell victory garden and expressions of appreciation for the good he sees around him. His optimism shines through as he describes the joy of having his family gathered together at “the ranch” on Southport, despite the reasons they’re all at home. There’s even a shoutout to the legendary John Druce, who recently celebrated his 98th birthday with much fanfare.
We may not be able to see into the future, but it’s clear that anyone fortunate enough to own Around Boothbay Harbor will be heartened by what they see in its pages – each day of each month in 2021.
January offers a view seen as if through rose-colored glasses. We look past the Boothbay Harbor Shipyard’s snow-covered pier toward the outer harbor and its islands. Everything is bathed in the light of a winter sunset. By contrast, a stark, silvery glow on the horizon punctuates February’s decidedly chilly image of a lobster boat at rest beside a snowy float in Boothbay Harbor. In the foreground is the vessel’s well-used equipment for hauling out and weighing traps.
March, right in character, doesn’t warm up much. The snow may be gone, but the gust-driven waves breaking against Ocean Point ledges, scudding clouds in a cold-looking sky, and brown vegetation around shorefront homes indicate that winter isn’t quite over. This blustery view of our region also serves as the calendar’s cover.
The horizon is tinged with gold in April’s return to Mitchell’s home base of Southport. Hendricks Head Light and the massive, familiar ledge at the adjacent beach appear as near silhouettes against glowing sea, sky, and sand.
We remain on Southport through May, enjoying this tranquil look at a pair of spanking-clean lobster boats suffused in dappled light. The nearest is called Mrs. Smith, and at right angles to her is the Natalie & Shawn.
June is a different story: The businesses and inns of Commercial and McKown streets in Boothbay Harbor rise above a waterfront crowded with windjammers, their masts bare and sails furled.
July’s image takes us away from all the bustle to Damariscove and a view of the island’s tiny museum with its weathered shingles and sign. A stately seagull occupies the gable end of the roof. A blue picnic table and yellow pot buoy are bright spots beside the spare building and the granite ledge where it perches.
August brings a perfect day for sailing in a photo taken from Ocean Point. Both the boat at the center of the photo and the flags by the Ram Island structures in the background are under full sail.
September is a perfect time for a visit to Monhegan, and it was a perfect day when Mitchell and his camera ventured to the island’s wilder side. From a vantage point atop a cliff, he captured the view to the water far, far below and the rugged landscape stretching into the distance.
October brings a change in color, as well as temperature. This month’s photo shows the full range of autumnal hues on a Boothbay hillside, and it’s all doubly beautiful as reflected in the water in the foreground. Vast swaths of evergreens add a peaceful note to the fiery fall colors.
The image for November has an abstract quality. At center stage is a tall cairn in sharp focus silhouetted against strip upon strip of soft color: textured water; dark land; shades of gold, and, topping it all, a clear blue sky.
And speaking of color and texture, December’s photo has them both in spades. It’s an up-close view of a dozen multi-hued pot buoys suspended by ropes among the branches of large evergreen trees. Snow clings to everything, and the effect is whimsical and cheerful – a perfect way to end the coming year.
It’s always important to point out that a portion of the proceeds from the sale of Around Boothbay Harbor, now in its 20th year, support Teens to Trails, which provides opportunities for young people to enjoy the nature of Maine. The calendars, as well as a wide variety of note cards and postcards, are available at local stores, mitchellphoto.com, and 207-633-3136.