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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Oh! The Places I've Been!

    A year! A year of riding around New England. Oh! The places I've been, and the things I have seen! And I know I've only touched the edges, and the bits and pieces. There's still a whole new world out there to go riding around in! Starting here. Here at the sugar house, here in the Raggedy Garden, here where I hang my hat. Here where my heart is.

    Apple orchards, not yet blooming, not yet fruit filled. Curvy, slender, silver with years. With the grass greening up and the ancient stone walls rambling around them. They hold the future, the hope, the possibilities. Of new life and the circle of seasons.
    Many a path, through many a woods. Enticing, luring, enchanting. What will I find, if I follow this curve of  a pathway?

     In this stony land, where the granite lives, one must build with stones. There is a living, beauty in them. Touch a great jumbled hunk of granite and you will feel it. All the years, and all the seasons, and all the snow, and wind and rain and sunshine. A granite step, in the sunshine, warm and gentle, strong and steady. What New England, and its people are made of.

    Covered bridges. Some still in use. Some only for walking across.

     Killed by a bear, Hundreds of years ago. But the legend lives on. The road is a dirt road. The woods are old, and quiet, filled with sun shine and shadow. We rocked through the ruts, and mud and stones, and we found him. Lest we forget.

     All the old mill buildings. They were run by water power. They gave New England, and a lot of other places, all the things they needed to survive. Still standing. Still hearing the rushing water tumble by. Dreaming of the old times.

    Between the Mountains Road. Some names are too delicious. This is a dirt road, also. Where we jostle and bump along between the mountains.

    A lake, and a float plane. So many waters, reflecting the sky, surrounded by little camps and hardwood forests.

     Huge, old abandoned chimneys. Crumbling and beautiful. All that is left of some ones hearth and home. The woods creep closer. The meadow is lush and filled with life around it. Not sad. Just real life.

    Waterfalls, crashing and splashing through chunks of strewn granite.

    The tracks, curving into the tunnel. Trains still go through here, over the bridge , across the river, and on down the line.

    When the colors begin to show, and the tracks lead onward. Where will the road take me?

    Ahh! The wood piles! In New England wood is a serious business.

    This is a ski jump. At some time, some wild ones did this. It has not been used for ski jumping for awhile. But I know some later wild ones who climbed up it. Which is  another story. It makes my stomach lurch.

    The sun sets over the water, over the hills.

    The dawn comes up, like thunder, out across Frenchmans Bay.

    The mighty Atlantic Ocean crashes against the cliffs.

    All the small, sweet churches. Steeples rising high above every town. Stained glass windows, beautiful doors, plain Quaker meeting houses with out any frills.

    The smallest church that I've found, so far.

     Pillsbury Flour started here. Who would've thought?

    This road, too. Dirt road. Ruts and rocks and puddles. But the name is like music. I hope you enjoyed riding around New England with me last year! Who knows what we will discover in this new one!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

It"s Christmas, At My House!

       It's Christmas, at my house! How I love Decembers short days. Mornings and evenings are for the candles glow. I sit in the warm silence and feel sated with happiness.

        All my little angels are up and singing. In the stillness of December, I can hear them, faint and far away.

       Birds nest, for luck, and oriole feathers and egg shells.

         A chickadee on my window.

       Felted blue mittens.

        All the Christmas books.

        Bells against the lace.

        Food and flowers.

        Cedar and red berries.

       Boots and socks, and plaid blankets.

        The desire of the heart.

       The Holly and the Ivy.

      A tea party.

        New fallen snow.

       The sun, setting in the west.

                  When the sky is heavy and grey, and the big, wet snowflakes kiss my face. When suddenly the sun tries to part the clouds, but all I see is a golden glow for a brief moment. When the wind skirls in the night time, and I am warm under the quilt. When the fire crackles in the morning. When the children come in with rosy cheeks and wet mittens. When the smell of cinnamon and vanilla and pine and cedar are in the air.  When friends come, and the coffee and conversation flow. When we have secret surprises waiting for some one. When all the Decembers, all the Christmases past, shine dreamily before me, settle in around me, leave me mellow and thankful. Thankful for the birth of a Saviour. He came here for me. In a manger, in Bethlehem.  No greater gift was or will, ever be given.

                           It's Christmas,, at my house!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Riding Aound New England: One November in Maine

     For the love of Maine. On a gray November day, we headed up, to go "down east". In Bangor, we hit snow. Suddenly it was winter. The sky was gray, the trees were dark and gloomy, the snow was white. The air was damp and chill. We cut across, then, to head for the coast. For Calais, for Eastport, for Lubec, for all those towns by the sea. We have been here in the summer. Now we brave Novembers changeling days. It's different now. No tourists. Most of the motels and restaurants and shops are "closed for the season". There is no traffic. We have Maine to ourselves.

       We find rose hips in the snow. Bright red, bright green leaves. The only bright things on a gray foggy day. Across the river is Canada. Here we are, at the edge of our world. The tides come and  go on this river. A bridge goes across. We can see that there it is just as here. Church steeples, buildings of brick and stone, street lights, and cars, docks and boats. Old fishermen and the sweetness of teen agers. Good folks and bad. In all the world. In every country. Life lived. We are all the same.

       We hit the Waco Diner in Eastport for breakfast one morning. The oldest diner  that has been continuously operating in the United States. The rain pours down. We are right on the docks. Inside it is warm and bright. The old men drink coffee and razz the waitress. We have smoked salmon and eggs. And homefries, done the real New England way, and a bagel with cream cheese. The town is quiet. No shops are open this early in the morning.

       We walk off our big breakfast, up one side of the street and down the other. Gazing in the windows. Talking to the man getting his boat ready to go out. Smelling the sea. Listening to the ravens croaking on the roof tops, and the sea gulls mewling as they fly overhead. Checking out the free library. Waiting for nine thirty, when the Hardware store opens.

        The hardware store. Run by this family for many generations. It started out as a ship chandlery, selling goods for the ships going out to sea. Changing with the times. Now selling almost any thing you might need! And, yes, S.L. was an uncle to Henry .

        Eastport is the eastern most city in the country. Here is where the night fades and the dawn comes, first, before it spreads light over the rest of the country. The Indians here were called People of the Dawn. The road goes down a steep, steep hill. Down to the sea. In the rain drops we see the beautiful church, with a gull perched on the cross at both ends.

        We visit the Quoddy Head lighthouse. All white and red. The fog horn booming. The light flashing. The waves crashing and roaring on the rocks. The bell bouy sounding. Its lonely here and wild, and far away. You can feel it in your heart. Then Schoodic Point. We have spent many hours here, before. Now we have it all to our selves. This day has dawned bright and full of sunshine, after a full moon night. It's cold. The wind roars and the sea roars, and the waves blow high against the cliffs. Even the gulls are quiet. A flock of ducks bob and dive, not minding the wild sea, at all, at all.

      We drive slowly. Past all the old places where we have been. The towns, the docks, the sea glass beach, the lobster boats. The wind whipped cemetery, where lie fisherfolk and families, and Katie. And next to Katie, Jean, "like a daughter to Katie". Does any one know, any more the story? I feel the story here, standing in the wild windy sunshine.

       I like these little towns, with colorful buildings, and lobster bouys and narrow streets. I like the town docks, with friendly people, and friendly dogs. With small working boats, and fancy yachts. Where good smells come from the restaurant kitchens. Where you must shout to be heard over the wind and the tide. Where the night falls soft over water and land.

       I like these places, with tug boats and high masts, and bridges to walk across. With smokers cooking barbeque and  lobster traps, all crusty with salt and sea weed.

       I like how inland the blueberry barrens are most beautiful now, all pink and mauve and reflecting the morning sun. We have felt the heartbeat of the real Maine, now in November. The hard working, down home Maine. The shabby at the edges Maine. The beautiful, salty spirit of down east. I will come again, thank you!