Autumn Video Tour: Changing Leaves, Campaign Signs
On Thursday, with a nor'easter approaching, I took a drive that I take more days than not, back and forth between Lincolnville Beach, where I live, and the village of Lincolnville Center. On the return trip I made a video.
I try in this blog to convey a sense of Maine life from the vantage of our small midcoast town. This week we'll take a peek at it through the lens of a camera.
Now this video is no great shakes. I made it by the simple expediency of holding my iPhone over the steering wheel and turning on the camera. (This is not, incidentally, a filmic strategy I would recommend. It complicates the driving experience even if one does not have, as I did, a cat sitting on one's lap, and it gives rise to moments of unsought verité, as for instance a tendency for the image to wobble alarmingly and become partly occluded by the videographer's finger. We must think of this as a badge of authenticity: as it were, the craftsman's mark.)
The Maine landscape, as you see, is rendered more colorful than usual by maple leaves and campaign placards. Taken together, these give a fair idea of how the climate stands at this juncture, with Halloween hard upon us and Election Day, a scarier prospect, just after that. The signs may be hard to read in the video but thankfully they are color-coded: Republicans in red, Democrats chiefly in green, with nary an independent in sight. My town is pretty, but polarized.
For safety's sake I kept the camera mostly pointed straight ahead, so we only glimpse some interesting landmarks — near the start, for example, the village war memorial cheek-by-jowl with a homemade sign that keeps a running tally of the dead in Iraq and Afghanistan. A few dozen yards further on, we breeze past the tiny home of our incumbent representative, currently seeking reelection: a nice young man named Andrew O'Brien who babysat, as a teenager, for my children. He's got my vote despite that diaper incident.
We pass Breezemere Park with its picturesque bandstand. This gets a fair bit of use: we have an official town band as well as a homegrown bluegrass ensemble called the Breezemere Bottom Boys. Norton Pond glimmers in the b.g.
I've written before about Drake's Corner Market. You can recognize it here by its customary bulwark of pickup trucks. (I note en passant, and lament, the habit of iPhones and iPads and such to insert an apostrophe in "its" whether it's wanted or not. I must have lost hours of my life backing up to fix this.) Route 52 forks right toward Camden here; we stay the course leftward onto Beach Road. And we accelerate.
The LePage crowd got their signs up early, and there were an awful lot of them. But lately the Libby supporters have rallied, so that now there's a roughly even split — mirroring, indeed, the latest round of polling. The trees have also sharply diverged: almost every maple has turned and many have lost the greater part of their foliage, while the oaks stand in supreme indifference, roughed-up but still green, as though it were August.
We haven't had a frost yet, and there's none in the immediate forecast. Autumn seems content to linger yet awhile. Last spring came exceptionally early — the ice-out day on Coleman Pond was nearly a month ahead of its normal schedule, according to a lady who keeps track of such things — and together with this leisurely fall, the growing season has been long enough that my Miscanthus 'Gracillimus' is blooming now for the first time in my career as a Maine gardener. Global climate change at work? If the GOP wins big next month, I suppose the popular verdict will be "no." Or if "yes," it's not our fault.
The song in the video is by the Decemberists, and there's a nice lyrical coincidence toward the end, as I'm finally almost home and we're cruising through a lovely stretch called Sleepy Hollow, which is part of Camden Hills State Park. The road is wet here, though it hasn't rained for days, and in the song there's a line about bed-wetters. There is something infantile about this election season — a lot of screaming and crying and red-faced anger. Imaginary monsters under the bed, or in the White House. If we don't get our way (and even more so if we do), we're going to break all these toys.
But who knows. Maybe things will work out all right; maybe winter will come and my new old Subaru will still be chugging along and no freak gale will send a spruce tree down on my roof. If such should be the case, I'll make another video.