PHIPPSBURG, Maine — “A Breath of Fresh Air” was born, quite honestly, as a way to keep myself busy while we figured out a way to produce our newscast off-site because of coronavirus precautions. I figured I could go outside and social distance while capturing Maine’s beauty. 

It’s not a new idea. Other national networks have been doing it for years on Sunday mornings. I also believe it was my very first video assignment freshman year in college. 

So, I wandered around Two Lights State Park in Cape Elizabeth for a while and produced a simple thing for the end of the news.

After it aired, the response was immediate and overwhelmingly positive. It was clear we were going to do this again.

I picked places to go that were special to me in some way. I used to camp around Squirrel Point Light House in Arrowsic when I was in high school.

My dad and I would often do what we called “photo safaris” where we would hike and take crazy amounts of pictures. Before we left for a hike around Screw Auger Falls in Grafton Notch State Park, I loaded both of our cameras. (Remember loading film?) 

We would later find out the film in each never caught on the take-up spool. For years, we would laugh about all the pictures we took that we could never see. It would end up being the last hike I ever took with him.

I once shot a fundraising calendar for the St. Andrews Society called “Under the Kilt.” (You get the picture.) We chose the stone tower on top of Mt. Battie in Camden as a backdrop. As my dear friend, who is no longer with us, walked up the staircase, the wind blew. He and his kilt made a great Marilyn Monroe moment. Soon after, someone pulled out their bagpipes and marched in front of the tower. It truly looked, felt, and sounded like we were in Scotland.

And today, March 20, 2020, I went to Fort Baldwin in Phippsburg. It was the first place I ever winter camped with my boy scout troop. It should be noted that camping is not allowed there but I’m sure we had permission. I froze my butt off that night in the concrete bunkers, but I got to experience what the soldiers of WW1 and WW2 faced for years on end. Thank you for your service.

These places are not only beautiful, but they stir the emotions. Visiting them is a simple way to find balance in this complicated time. Get out, get some fresh air, smile, and help those in need. Sometimes the best things in life are simple.

-Kirk Cratty, Photojournalist

A BREATH OF FRESH AIR YouTube PLAYLIST 

At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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