Robert Mitchell’s 2023 calendar: a study in beauty and tranquility

Tue, 07/05/2022 - 10:45am

Anyone who longs for the peace and joy gazing at water can bring will appreciate Robert Mitchell’s “Around Boothbay Harbor 2023” calendar. Nearly every page offers a water view, from roiling waves to a quiet pond; and each is interesting and beautiful enough to be savored for a full month. What’s most striking is how Mitchell perfectly captures the sense of each season.

The only months without a glimpse of water are the January pages (yes, two – one for 2023 and another as a head start on 2024). The first New Year’s image, “Our Winter Guest,” pictures a magnificent owl, well camouflaged while perched on a sturdy branch. The photo that kicks off 2024 is of wizened apple trees sharply contrasted against a snowy field.

Turning to the February page might bring on a shiver. Even the sun shining so brightly on Hendricks Head Light can’t warm the Southport landmark’s stark, white buildings rising above snow-capped ledges.

With their choppy surface reflecting a wintery sun, the waters of Boothbay Harbor in the March photo give the appearance of drifting snow. Silhouetted against the “drifts” are a channel marker, a fishing boat, and far-off Cuckolds Light framed by Tumbler Island.

April brings us to Ocean Point on a gloriously sunny day when foam-topped waves crashing against the shore appear to dwarf the buildings and empty flagpoles beyond. May’s photo, entitled “R and R,” invites us to an unoccupied Adirondack chair on a rocky shore – a perfect spot to enjoy a spring day.

June’s lively view captures windjammers, sailboats, lobster boats, trap-studded floats, and the shorefront that speak so clearly of Boothbay Harbor. This image also serves as the calendar’s cover.

July’s page is something else again: a spectacular aerial view that extends north from the Newagen tip of Southport Island to far beyond the Boothbay Peninsula, and from Westport Island on one side to Linekin Bay and East Boothbay on the other. On this clear day, you can see forever!

August brings us back to earth, or in this case the waters of the West Harbor, looking past an array of boats and floats toward the Boothbay Harbor Yacht Club. The only sign of life is cormorants drying their wings.

Just right for September is the view of Spruce Point’s forested hillside tinged with autumn colors, rising beyond the East Side’s waterfront businesses and the familiar spire of Our Lady Queen of Peace.

October’s atmospheric image is of a mist-enshrouded Appalachee pond strewn with fallen leaves and rimmed with red foliage. The fog thickens in November, with layer upon layer of silhouetted evergreens and ledge reaching into the waters of Cape Newagen.

Snow returns for December’s photo of a float heaped with frosty lobster traps and, beside it, a small dinghy that doesn’t look like it will be heading out anytime soon. The year is complete, and all it will take to start 2024 is the turn of a page to those wintry apple trees.

A unique feature of Mitchell’s annual calendars is the family photo and a letter offering a candid look at the ups and downs of the year just past for him, his family, and the local and wider community. We even learn how the adorable, cuddly puppy mentioned in the previous letter has become a mischievous teenager. No matter how you look at it, Around Boothbay Harbor feels like home.

The calendars are available throughout the region and at As always, a portion of proceeds will go to Teens for Trails to help young people enjoy Maine. As Mitchell writes, “Yay!”