Photo by Heather SwaimMaine is Vacationland in the same sense that any country with the word "democratic" in its name is a utopia. I'm not demeaning Maine when I mention its long winters, humid summers, mosquitos, bad dentifrice, inbreeding and pirates. Always pirates. I'm just saying Maine ain't Orange County, that Maine—and for that matter, just about anywhere else I've visited but didn't want to live—isn't the kind of land that allows for vacations before I get to the office. Any day I'm willing to wake up before work absolutely requires it, I can drive a few miles and spend 20 minutes grounding myself. Literally ground myself: some people stare at the starry night sky. Some people hike into the rarefied air of snowcapped mountain peaks. I watch the Pacific Ocean, typically at Little Corona in Corona del Mar, and I recall that my problems, no matter how immense they seem, will be microscopic in a few weeks—and probably forgotten in a year. That time will take care of almost everything just as the ocean patiently blasted rocks and coral into the sand beneath my feet over the course of millennia. That Richard Henry Dana saw the cliffs behind me more than a century ago. That my daughter may forget most of her youth, but she'll likely remember the days I woke her before sunrise, made her breakfast at the beach (a banana, some yogurt and a bagel) and let her go to summer school with sand still in her hair. She'll remember that, I bet—that and the time SpongeBob wore his underpants on his head.