Category Archives: Community

A Labor Day of Blue Skies and Water

On Sunday, we took Dee to the bus station so that she could return to New York City, where she lives and works. Always so sad to see her go, but what a fun time we had celebrating our birthdays.

Monday was Labor Day in this country. Here is a short explanatory blurb from Wikipedia: “Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. ”

Very fitting that we should honor laborers who made the workforce a better, safer place. However, for many people it is the long weekend marking the end of summer. Tourists aplenty come to Maine on Labor Day Weekend, but luckily for us, central Maine is not a hot spot for vacationers, and the roads are fairly quiet.

In keeping with our quiet area, we decided that Monday would be a no-car day and that we would bike along Maranacook Lake, one of our favorite places to ride. The day was hot but beautiful, and after our ride, we sat on a bench at Norcross Point to watch the water, the boats, and the sky.

Hydrangeas are in bloom, and I liked the way the blossoms look with the sky as the background.

Also, I liked the way the two bright kayaks punctuated the water. Blue and pink, pink and blue.

As we sat at the park and watched people paddle and swim, we reflected how lucky we were to live in a town where there is ample access to free public areas by the lake. Not every town has this, and in Readfield, the town next to ours, their beach is billed as “a user supported beach.” The town charges $40 per family for an annual permit.

Certainly, $40 is not a great deal of money, but lots of people in central Maine live on a tight budget, and I wonder how many families decide they can’t afford the fee. Much better, in my opinion, to have the beach and the park free for all to enjoy. (I do realize that taxes pay for the maintenance of the Winthrop beach and park, and I am happy to have a portion of my taxes used this way.)

After these musings, Clif and I decided to head home. And what did I see? Leaves just beginning to change color.

It is September, after all, and while the calendar tells us that autumn isn’t here until September 23, the trees are telling us otherwise.

Soon, the most  beautiful season of the year will be upon us.

In the meantime, Clif and I will enjoy as many evenings as we can on the patio.

Those days are numbered.

 

 

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Galloping Spring

Spring has galloped into Maine, and she is nearly out of sight. The leaves are full sized, and the early flowers have become a sweet memory. Gone are the tulips and the daffodils, but the irises, daisies, and lupines are in glorious bloom. We are on the edge of summer, lovely summer, so welcome after the long, frigid winter we had.

On Sunday, Clif and I went for a bike ride along Maranacook Lake. A couple of hardy souls—children, of course—were swimming in the cold water.

Whenever we go on this bike ride—our everyday route—we are thankful to live in such a pretty little town that has so much water. Maranacook is only one of several lakes and big ponds in Winthrop.

In between gardening and biking, I have been working on my YA fantasy Library Lost. My first readers—my family—have commented and have made editing suggestions, which I am now implementing. I am fortunate to have a family of such good readers. Their advice is invaluable, and without them, my books wouldn’t be anywhere near as good.

By the end of this week, Library Lost should be ready for copy editing. This is a long process, and while Library Lost is edited, I will begin the third book, Library Regained.

No rest for writers, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 

 

The Great Pumpkinfest: Part Two

Here are some more pictures from the Great Pumpkinfest in Damariscotta. Such a fun event! I plan to go back next year, but maybe on the Tuesday after the actual fest. That way, the pumpkins will be complete but won’t have started to decay, and there won’t be as many people.

Now, an interlude with a flower, a beautiful rose that somehow managed to bloom in October.  In Maine. It almost seems miraculous.

Back to pumpkins.

The end. Until next year.

The Great Pumpkinfest: Part One

Yesterday, I went with my friend Dawna to Damariscotta for its annual Pumpkinfest.

Damariscotta is a lovely little village—population circa 2,000—nestled beside the even more lovely Damariscotta River, a tidal estuary of the gulf of Maine. Here is a shot looking out from town onto the river.

Because of the natural beauty, artists have been drawn to this area, which means the village has a zippy, arty vibe.

Yesterday, when we went to Damariscotta, the village was certainly zipping as various businesses and individuals were getting their giant pumpkins ready for the fest. (Today is when the fest officially opens, with a parade and many outside vendors as well as the pumpkins, of course. We were told that the town is packed, and it was best to come very early to get a parking spot.)

But first things first. As the day was drizzly but clearing,  Dawna and I decided we would begin with lunch, and that if we were lucky, the rain would be gone by the time we finished our meals. We went to a place called Crissy’s, a breakfast and coffee bar, open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday.

I am happy to report that my BLT was mighty tasty and it, along with every thing else on the menu, was reasonably priced. Honest food at honest prices. My favorite kind of place to eat.

And by gum, when we were done lunch, the weather had indeed cleared, and for the cherry on the sundae, the light was bright overcast, just perfect for taking pictures of pumpkins.

Outside of Crissy’s, a young woman was in the process of creating a hatching dragon inspired by one of my favorite series, Game of Thrones.

We crossed the street and came upon this beautiful carved pumpkin.

The man who was carving—I didn’t get his name—explained that this Pumpkinfest was done totally for fun. It was not a competition. There were no prizes. Now, competitions have their place, but I love the idea of a fest where the pumpkins are carved, painted, and decorated for sheer creative enjoyment. However, while I didn’t question the man any further, I expect there is still some friendly rivalry to see who can come up with the most creative pumpkin.  Whatever the case, this master carver looked as though he was having a good time.

Then, for something completely different, stylish black and white.

And next, a hideous clown. (There. Now you know how I feel about clowns. )

That’ll do for today. Tomorrow, I’ll post some more pictures of this fun Pumpkinfest, to get all of you in the mood for this season of ghosties and ghoulies and long-legged beasties.

 

 

 

 

Fire at the Post Office

img_6194Yesterday, there was a fire at our town’s post office, and the fire was so intense that it gutted the building. All morning the fire raged, and Facebook was full of images and descriptions. This put our little town in an uproar, and Clif and I had a hard time concentrating on anything else.

With that fire and destruction, we have lost an essential part of our town. Despite email, FedEx, and UPS, the postal service is vital to our community—indeed to many communities—and now there is great big burnt shell where the post office once stood.

Many people criticize the U.S Postal Service, complaining of how the federal government can’t do anything right. I beg to disagree. Sure, every once in a while my New Yorker goes missing, or we receive mail that should have gone to someone else. But not very often. Mostly, day in and day out, our mail comes, delivered by conscientious carriers who actually bring the mail to our doorstep when we have a package.

While it does cost money to send letters—still a bargain, as far as I’m concerned—and packages, it doesn’t cost anything for individuals to receive mail. You might even call the U.S Postal Service a common good, a concept that today seems as dated as poodle skirts and saddle shoes. Spending for the common good? Where’s the profit in that?

And while I’m on the subject of the common good, I must praise the firefighters, from our town and from surrounding towns, who put out the fire and stopped it from spreading to other buildings. At town meetings, there is always grousing about how much the fire department costs. Yes, there is a cost. But what would our town be like without it?

Schools, fire departments, libraries, police departments, trash removal all cost money, but they are essential to having a decent society. (I could add other things such as public transportation, too.) The point is not that they cost taxpayers money. The point is, how do we collect the money fairly so that taxes aren’t a burden on those who don’t have much?

The postal service has already sprung into action with a plan for Winthrop’s mail. Working out of Augusta, carriers have already resumed home delivery in Winthrop. For those who had post office boxes or need to pick up packages, they will go to the Manchester post office, in the town next to us. The mail will be delivered, despite the loss of our post office.

Right now, fire marshals are investigating the cause of the fire. I’m hoping it wasn’t arson.

And I expect a new post office will replace the burnt wreckage of the old one. But it will be quite a while before that happens, and, in the meantime, our post office will be sorely missed.

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No Lifeguard on Duty

Last night I had a snake dream—unfortunately,  I have recurring snake dreams. It was summer, and I was somewhere high, overlooking a field. Along came the snake, very long and whipping so fast, so fast through the grass. I have no idea what kind of snake it was, but with its brown coloring and huge size, it was probably what we Mainers call a milk adder. Then in my dream, the snake disappeared into the edge of the forest, and, lucky for me, that was that.

Funny to have such a dream because it is January in Maine, and all the snakes, great and small, are sound asleep beneath the snow.  We have had a week of wintry mix, where at times the sleet has tapped, tapped, tapped against the house and windows. Fortunately, the sleet did not leave much of a coating on the trees, and no branches fell to make us lose our power.

Yesterday afternoon I went to the public beach in town, to take some pictures, and I learned that there was no lifeguard on duty.

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The ducks didn’t seem to mind.

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I admired the bare branches of a tree against the sky,

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the weather vane on top of the gazebo,

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and the ice-fishing shacks on Maranacook Lake.

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Soon January will slide into February. One more month of deep winter, even in this time of climate change.

Saugust, If You Will

The calendar has flipped to September, and it’s almost as though the weather knows we are into a new month. Gone are the extreme heat and humidity, and I am certainly happy to see these guests leave.  With September’s arrival, we have had warm, dry days and crisp, cool nights. Why, it’s almost like Maine’s August of old, the month we all looked forward to and loved.

But, as I’m fond of saying, in Maine, with climate change, September is the new August—or Saugust, if you will. I guess it’s an ill wind that blows no good. Having an extra month of lovely warm weather is a real bonus for a state known for its long, cold winters that last through March.  (In a previous post, I suggested trading March for an extra month of August. However, I’ve changed my mind—let’s have an extra September instead.)

In September, Winthrop sees the first wave of summer people leaving for parts south. The library is quiet, with few cars parked out front. At Norcross Point, where we leave the car to go on our bike rides, there are no boats being launched.

But, oh, the blue of the water and the sky, those puffy white clouds.

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September, the month of stars—asters—and apples, where it’s still light enough to sit on the patio at night and have friends over for grilled bread and appetizers. We can wear t-shirts on our bike rides, and we don’t have to wear confining jackets, hats, or gloves.

October, with its chilly beauty, is right around the corner, but I won’t think about that.  Instead, I will revel in September, my birth month,  and all the good things that it brings.