Credit: George Danby / BDN

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Ginger Buck is an Aroostook County native who resides in Mapleton with her husband. She is a real estate agent.

For the past year, my husband and I hosted a traveling doctor and his wife from Ohio in our rental apartment in Mapleton. Throughout the year, we were incredibly impressed with their interest in the area and willingness to try it all — from biking to snowshoeing, skiing to hiking up Katahdin. They really explored and embraced Maine during their time here.

After a year in Maine, the couple in their 50s is packing their bags and traveling on to a new adventure. Tonight, we exchanged farewells and well wishes. During our conversation, they mentioned something that really resonated with me.

They told us how lucky we are. Truly lucky to be surrounded by loving family and friends. Lucky to live in such supportive and welcoming communities. And lucky to live in this beautiful area.

Through their eyes I saw our great fortune with a fresh perspective. They commented on how they could walk out their back door and snowshoe, and about how fresh and clear the air was, and that when you went outside at night the sky could sweep you away with its magnitude. They’ve never seen stars like they have here in Aroostook County.

How, when walking the same road over the course of several months, you could tell the passage of time by the growth of the amber waves of grain. How the birch trees danced in the wind and the deer grazed in our backyard. And how here you slowed down to notice those little things that add up to mean a whole lot. They noticed these things so clearly because this isn’t the norm everywhere.

I’ll close with a comment they mentioned that I hope resonates with others as much as it did with me.

“You live truly rich lives here.”

I think that sums up the core of life in The County pretty well. So gaze at the stars and be humbled by their clarity. Watch the sunset turn our abundant fields to gold, breathe in the crisp morning air with gratitude, and remember how incredibly fortunate we are to live in an area as bountiful as Aroostook County.