My favorite selection in a particular book was written by Robert P. Tristram Coffin. So good were his words that I did not want to come to the end of them. His subject was “Cathedrals of the North,” a celebration of the Maine barn and the “worship” that is performed therein. He speaks of the fullness of summer being brought into the barn and stored against the leanness of winter. It is fed there to the patient beasts under the farmer’s care.
Continuing from last week’s post, here’s more on my nontraditional undergrad experience with the author of Waiting to Begin, who now holds the BFA chair at UMF. Unbeknownst to either of us at that time, she was helping me begin the MAINE METAPHOR series.
I was not meeting with other creative writers. I was designing my own major around Maine studies, topics of which abounded among course offerings, but formalizing such a degree was not an option at that time. So I asked my mentor to work with me, saying I wanted to study and write mythic literature in an independent study. Neither O’Donnell nor the chair of the English department would sign onto the project. If I had waited perhaps a semester they might have been more receptive because by that time Joseph Campbell’s groundbreaking studies in the power of myth were popularized. Public television had begun doing this series with Bill Moyers and Campbell. (Recently Pat told me she would not have felt qualified to work on this type of writing.)
we lived on this road and knew about Nettie, the girl who lived on a berry farm on the mountainside above. she was born and raised to be her parents’ keeper in their aging, as some parents did in the late 1800s. your last child was to be yours, not living for his or herself. she did the unexpected and got married. she became a photographer.
I’m sitting here in Bob’s Corner Store and Texaco… but… its 25 years down the hapless hapful road of Time from the Town’s Dodransbicentennial. Also Dosquicentennial, word signifying 175 years building on a Latin contraction meaning “a whole unit less than a quarter.” ??? And I’m sitting here… but it’s The Local Hub, same building outside but sans gas pumps… and with a few other outward more elegant touches. Inside the world is 9,125 days past the earlier celebration. Instead of magazines with questionable appeal 🙂 and factory processed er goodies, the Hub is filled with organic locally grown produce and other naturally made goodies. Completely remodeled inside, bright and colorful, no longer cramped and dim.
yesterday we went in to see what was doing on the common for mollyockett day. one thing, this 1904 cadillac on main street! such a simple machine. later we saw it going toward the parade landing.
floats lining up for the parade:
Now the road is sinking down toward a glacially carved valley, mute and somber collection of browns, overarched with blue. The long descent is daunting. I hesitate inwardly while keeping my legs in a forward motion downward. Descent, in this tired stiff body, on sore tendons, is little to complain of. It’s the return up steep hills I resist.
Then I remember the esker. Thinking now that I might write about this Easter trek, I decide that I want that esker in my experience.
According to Thomas Hubka, a popular rhyme of the 19th century went, “Big house, little house, back house, barn.” Children played games to the rhythm of it. And so he named his book on the subject for this rhyme.
Unlike the verbal record of these Holy Week walks the images in this series of posts are, with the exception of drawings, this week’s images …
Today I go past Johnny’s Bridge. Where kids once said a man named Johnny was buried in cement. I walked on from the bridge back toward the Gore Road. It’s Easter, day of the new body. While Allen works in the paper mill, I plan a large walk to the end of the Gore and back. The Gore is a triangular piece of land. The road is named for the completion of this triangle. When viewed from above, the geometry isn’t so evident because there are no straight lines in these mountains.
Continuing on from yesterday’s post … I forgot about waitresses, rainbows and clouds. I thought of other things, saw other things.
One of those things was a particleboard ice-fishing shack sitting on someone’s yard. Ice was fixing to rot off the pond, the season was over. Saw Arthur’s high crooked house, heard him yell ineffectually at his barking dog. Past Earl’s black, patched-together house, hunkered to the ground. He would be out working at the town dump. Few people in this world have as fine a panorama as Earl’s from his tarpaper shack.