Reading Welsh and Maineiac mysteries together, hoping to discover clues as to the state of The God’s Cycle corpus. Is it dead or alive? Pairing the Maineiac and the Welsh is not inappropriate because there are parallels in this coupling. The Maineiac is not a Mainer born and bred, but one “from away,” someone just crazy enough — wanting to live here despite the covert/overt challenge. The Welsh, as everyone in the UK knows, are plain crazy. The English of long ago absconded with Britain and the true King Arthur. The Irish (slightly less crazy Celts) absconded with St. Patrick, but that’s another history.
Friends, here’s an opportunity for us both, ongoing till the end of May. Wipf & Stock is offering a free ebook at their site for the latest in our Maine Metaphor series, Visiting the Eastern Uplands. Visiting Aroostook. To grab the ebook–the page is HERE. At the shopping cart checkout, paste in the code word UPLANDS . Make certain you are clicking on the ebook button, not that of the hardcopy. They both have the same price (sans coupon).
What is it about that word? Aroostook. “The County,” we call it in Maine. When you think of the State of Maine, maybe the quaint or upscale coastline comes to mind, ragged glacier-carved cliffs, peninsulas and islands in the Gulf of Maine. Lobsters, fisheries, boats.
Or maybe it’s mountains, the Western Mountains where we live and snowshoe. Where skiing, hunting, fishing, hiking and getting lost in the woods all come to mind. The terminus of the Appalachian Trail is at the top of our Greatest Mountain, Katahdin.
What we don’t think of is farmland, homegrown nourishment, Canadian borderlands, and …the Amish. Also, we don’t think of Ohio.
I recall my astonishment the first time I saw an Amishman in Maine. He was standing on the mezzanine in L.L. Bean’s, famous outfitter of outdoorsmen and women. This anomaly, wearing signature Amishman’s hat and beard, stood quietly observing. Everything. Everything in the hustle of shoppers shopping. I stopped shopping, gazing at him in his survey. The difference in our gazes? Mine, I’m sure, was one of astonishment. His was not.
A word is a tiny thing, a written word.
What mystery is housed in the word forest? Evergreen boughs upturned in mist, crowned with cones. And breathing leaves. Try the word Story itself.
See part one here: view from the edge of elfland
Are we there yet? I appear, at least, to be dragging my verbal and metaphoric feet in working up this response to David Russell Mosley’s On the Edges of Elfland. Remember, it was a promise to try for a response. These qualifiers made a good hedge for me to hide behind.
I liked Alfred’s character. His underlying uncertainty combines with pathos in a subtle but felt sympathy. I feel with and for him. It would take another reading for me to distinguish the many characters (types) as they begin multiplying: dwarves, gnomes, elves, goblins, fairies, at least two dragons both of which Alfred slew, and hobgoblins, giants; perhaps strangest of all—humans. Continue reading
If I stick with a book often it becomes a friend, opening itself to me. In beginning On the Edges of Elfland: A Fairy-Tale for Grown Ups, by David Russell Mosley, I liked first the Lovely- English Inn and-Village setting by the Woodlands. This was followed with affectionate characters and story-book suggestiveness through pub tales of what went before in the village. One does not want to see this village destroyed, or even changed. To change it would perhaps destroy it. I’m not as receptive to other tropes owing to readerly familiarity, so these must be handled in a manner refreshing to my years. Parts of young Alfred Perkins’ adventures in Elfland secure my reception, other parts do not.
For an example of town column news content, here’s something on “Johnny’s Bridge,” mentioned elsewhere among pages I’ve written on Maine. This is a change not in the name itself but of the history of Johnny’s Bridge. Thankfully the name remains! Newcomers have sometimes changed place names in some of our communities, made now historic transitions from, for example, Mud Pond to Starlight Pond. And some newcomers would rather have their family name, say on a road, or have some other quirky designation in place of an old settler’s name. While Bean’s Corner is still locally known as such, those “from away” may not realize this and may use the Atlas name: East Be. East Be is in fact a hamlet, so no harm done.
Johnny’s Bridge, on the other hand, has itself been replaced, rebuilt a few times, most recently last year. And still, the name remains.
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.
R. took the photos in this post on our 2010 trip to Salem/ Concord.
Above is the Salem Custom-house, built in 1819, which is smaller than the Boston house where Nathaniel Hawthorne found the faded scarlet letter, faintly embroidered in gold thread.
The Frontenac Hotel was our destination, the old city of Québec with its old world mystique top-heavy fronts and tarnished copper roofs and turrets; statuary, carriages, dignitaries and redcoats and rebels and tourists; its outdoor cafes and squares.
The boardwalk above the precipitous shore and beneath the high city, the yet higher battlements with cannon sending forth its smoking charges and celebration, cannonading with thrilling power. As a decade before, landing on Loyalists Day in St. John, New Brunswick, quite by accident, so it was with this day; with our rising into the city in our pickup truck on Canada Day. Continue reading