Got a glimpse of a report—so, the headline really—about Maine being among the most car-friendly states in the Union. I was surprised. This is not normally what we think of here in Maine. Would you think Maine, with an estimated population of 1,331,479 and an area of 35,385 square miles could hold its own in a group where surely—what’s the name of that hectic state? —SoCal, with a population of 22,680,010, and an area of 56,512.35 sq. mi. is likely car-lover number one?
Still cruising the web for facts on it all, I got to thinking of goodies coming for us Maine car-lovers, including pavement.
CHRONICLE editor Lee included words about the village school in his collection of Maine writings. The educator Mary Ellen Chase writes of the old-time two-room school she attended as a child. She points out the flaws of the “system”; reuse of old books, obsolete maps, “harassed and overworked,” teachers. And she tells of its strengths: “pride in learning well,” “solidarity of outlook” and the instillation of morally strengthening ideas. In this little world of learning, foolishly considered narrow by some today, a love of learning flourished in Mary Ellen Chase as she glimpsed learning at levels higher than her own. Learning was something mysterious and wise, as she saw in “the beauty and order of common fractions” that an older student had transcribed on the board. In this I find the idea that knowing is not as enlivening as the process of learning. Once the thrill of revelation wears off, one wants to proceed through the process of learning afresh.
Am adding a new satire tag to the green and blue house. Satire is needed to season an essay collection so I thought practicing here might help this arduous laborious unwelcome difficult endeavor. I’ve had the FUN tag include satire but now, with the new tag, the crafting of satire might be encouraged.
I’ve written elsewhere that satire is tricky and can be misleadingly deceptive: If it’s too dry it can be seen by some as straightforwardly serious, not satire. So the writer has to label it, then reader and writer both suffer complete devastation. Come right out in the style: yes this is satire! To be effective in our culture it must be close to the edge, even crazy, extreme. Then every type of intellect can recognize it as satire. We should be able to say this is satire, yes, and what does this particular piece of satire mean?
you can bike around the north pond if you don’t mind highway traffic, pulp and tanker trucks, distracted drivers; hills potholes, curves in the back roads. here’s the bridge we’ve been traversing on bikes since moving here 34 years ago.
The day this was taken a member of the pond community stopped us on our bikes to say they were finally going to replace this bridge! We came back the next day to find–Some sons of the camps did this with their fraternity brothers.
Maine humor, dry, often self-deprecating, was popular in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. According to Editor/ compiler W. Storrs Lee, Mark Twain was influenced by Maine’s Artemus Ward (born Charles Farrar Browne just over the hills in Waterford). Ward practiced Maine humor. Lincoln wanted him in the room with him during the Civil War–at least he wanted Ward’s words there, opening a meeting of the cabinet.
I found exquisite humor and style in George S. Wasson’s “Standing Room Only” where night life at Cap’n Simeon’s Store is described. Here old salts gather round the stove, and youths atop barrels and meals sacks listen while simple wisdom and lore unjaded come forth from the humor of experience.
Just keep climbing. Almost there. Life is better when there’s something on the horizon. Something like an eclipse to watch for. Elda had been counting on this for two weeks. It was movement in heaven—even if it didn’t always live up to its billing. Maybe it was the waiting and watching that mattered, anyway. Hopeful watching itself might light and animate everything. Like an eclipse, watching could show forth an inscrutable purpose … underscored in fire and blue air. Afterward, the remains of watching would be largely unintelligible, except in that kindling still moment before God slipped away.
—Return to God’s House (first in The God’s Cycle)