If a person were to look at Cutler, s/he would probably be reminded of a Norman Rockwell picture. The small-town atmosphere and caring people give it an old-fashioned quality that is not often duplicated. Surrounded by thick rugged firs and the chilled Atlantic Ocean, this habitat is home to as few as 500 year-round residents and summer guests.
I have lived among this untamed coastal beauty all my life as have my mother and her mother as well. My grandmother spent her early years on an island in the mouth of the harbor. Her stories of these unique days are rich with tidal waters and family togetherness.
The quaint size of my sea-side home gives its residents special qualities. People of Cutler have small-town values. They pull together in times of joy and need. Whenever my father needs help, more than enough hands always seem to appear and get the job done. These same hands are also there to give him a pat on the back or a round of applause.
A certain uniqueness is applied to jobs of Cutler as well. Many of its residents reap their earnings by living and working off the land. Through the fog-filled summer mornings you can always see clammers scattered across the muddy flats. Faithful Cutler fishermen slip out of the harbor before the sun creeps over the horizon. My father is one of these men, a fisher of lobster as well as a boat builder in the winter months.
I have worked with him on the boat since I was ten and have been able to drink up the beauty of the shore while strengthening my relationship with him. This summertime work has taught me a lot about who I am.
Living in a town like this, one learns to appreciate the simpler things in life. At night one might go for a row in the harbor and glide across the rippled reflections of silvery street lights. Exercise can be obtained by hiking a mossy trail, and the best therapy for a stressful day is curling up by the shore with a crisp apple and a good book.
After this summer I will be moving out into the "real world" to experience what life is really like. I am excited about the many opportunities in store for me; but as I move forward, I won't leave the past behind. I will take the small-town values with me. No matter where I am, I know I will always be able to close my eyes and smell the salty sea breeze of Cutler, the town that will always be my home. -
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.