Democracy in a small Maine town

HERE IS A VINTAGE CIRCA 1941 PHOTO OF A LOCAL TOWN HALL.

 

greenwood town hall

 

No account of Maine’s development and spirit would be complete without mention of its great sea-faring activities. Even before statehood in 1820, Maine produced ships for the military and for private merchant fleets. Maine had the lumber to produce ships, it had the ocean front–2500 miles of it–from which to commence. The CHRONICLE editor points out that sea-faring gave what would have been a fairly provincial existence the worldly experience necessary to broaden thought. Country boys were given a chance to learn the skill, gain in authority, and see places only dreamed of by many.

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Faith in Maine

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.

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the old stone face of Hawthorne…

image & descriptor from wiki: The Old Man of the Mountain on April 26, 2003, seven days before the collapse. A late spring snow fell the night before.

As indicated to me by the editor, this was “in the pipeline” to be published in Books & Culture. So I was disappointed when the magazine was unexpectedly withdrawn from Christianity Today’s line late last summer. Also, I did not want B&C to go away! Ever. This entry below is part of the original essay.

A Maine writer–summering here as a youth and attending Bowdoin College–Nathaniel Hawthorne has a claim on the state. Or, maybe it’s the reverse.

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is creativity to happen?

on meeting Pat and beginning maine metaphor, I happened to hang out with the birches

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.)

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nettie marries, records life in the hamlet

Screen Shot 2016-09-05 at 9.55.22 AM

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.

nettie's camera

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tomorrow

SONY DSC

the new outside

 

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.

in hub

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Easter Sunday going home on the Gore Road

By the pond

By the pond

 

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.

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