…as it relates to Maine. Galadriel sang in lament of Middle-earth and the fading elves, as the fellowship sailed downstream away from her. They heard her song remote in passing on toward their fearful quest and duty:
“Then it seemed to Frodo that she lifted her arms in a final farewell, and far but piercing-clear on the following wind came the sound of her voice singing. But now she sang in the ancient tongue of the elves beyond the sea, and he did not understand the words: fair was the music, but it did not comfort him.”
Long after, remembering the elvish words, he was able to interpret them.
“Ah! like gold fall the leaves in the wind, long years numberless as the wings of trees! The long years have passed like swift draughts of the sweet mead in lofty halls beyond the West beneath the blue vaults of Varda wherein the stars tremble in the song of her voice, holy and queenly. Who now shall refill the cup for me?”
Maine is changing. I knew this on beginning a cycle of fiction, set in a fictive Maine “rural town in transition.” This is the major theme of The Cycle. It was a very slow process, after moving to Maine’s western mountains, but I began to see and understand the character of Maine as it had been since the beginning of settlement… and then, its becoming a developmental and resort community, I sensed the transitioning. Now transition is a permanent state, not just for Maine but for every place. The beauty of stasis, with regard to character, is done away and transition is the new permanent.
On Maineiacs and Mainers: One way things change is through ignorance. I wouldn’t like to see the word “Mainer” disappear. The online Urban Dictionary has confused terms: When we moved here people like us, who came “from away,” might call themselves Maineiacs to distinguish between Mainers and themselves. Accompanied by a slight feeling that one was unworthy to call oneself Mainer, the designation Maineiac meant especially admiration of Mainers and Maine, meaning the character of people and place. Overall this feeling was not returned, as you can see from the seeming pejorative: “From away.” However, it needs to be stated emphatically, that on the individual level, people were kind, helpful, generous, granting a certain amount of attention on how to live here. We were introduced to Maine’s ways on so many levels: woods work, fishing and hunting, tips on jobs, invites to social gatherings, and the granting of historic and otherwise information. Still, in a general way, there was the “from away” bias, and a healthy variety of both good humor and bad on the part of those who experienced it.
“From away,” is no longer much viable, as there is a huge influx of people “from away.” Yet some distant eastern and rural communities really seem to need some of this.
Rising property taxes necessary to support infrastructure is the reason for some towns disbanding. Local roads, bridges, schools and stewardship maintenance costs have escalated beyond what they can afford. Maine’s population is aging, and with fixed incomes. Are Maine’s eastern upland rural Towns in need of new residents? That would depend, in my own thoughts and concerns, on what kind of new residents. I think mainly of income, its sources, and especially of the moral qualities new residents might bring. If the wealthy were to come here, they may bring controlling thoughtless tyranny. If newcomers are nonworking poor, an additional burden. Other considerations are less important, or maybe of no importance. Ethnicity, for instance, is of no importance. To the Amish, whose native language is still a dialect of German, we are the Englischer. The Amish seem a complementary and well-integrated population here, on account of moral qualities, including work ethic. These qualities are highly reminiscent of qualities found in Maine’s founding, and in the founding of these rural towns. But, given my own thoughts and concerns, still it’s not my say. I can only watch, and witness. And I will.
Connect all this to the passing of a course I just audited at Mythgard Institute? I have enjoyed Tolkien’s Wars and Middle-earth (Fall 2015) tremendously, and learned much about influences upon Tolkien’s work. Because at Mythgard and Signum University they go deep. I feel something of an almost elegiac regret that John Garth’s course is over. And I’ve seen in it, through this instructor’s scholarship on JRRT’s early works, a great loss for Tolkien after the Great War and the passing away of his friends, and the rural life of his childhood in community. Tolkien describes how the elves had deep longing to keep things from changing, and to keep the beauty of their Elvenhome in place. He felt that and also saw its impossibilities. And it is the same for us in Maine now. Now that the character of this place is changing.
… Then there is Brigadoon. Perhaps something could be done there? Or in intimation, let us say? What I need is for one day to equal 100 years, and 100 years to equal a day. For you must know that I believe in Perfection. There will be a Making when a Crystalline State Of Perfection will be achieved. And inconsolable longing done away. Miraculous that, you say? Unfathomable? Yes, but so is continual change.