"My first and greatest love affair," wrote E.B. White in July of 1940, as the Third Reich was energetically snuffing out the democracies of Europe, "was with this thing we call freedom, this lady of infinite allure, this dangerous and beautiful and sublime being who restores and supplies us all."
Every word counts, as I try to impress daily upon my students at Watershed. Viz:
It's good to live among people who take trees seriously.
I once had some neighbors, down in Virginia, who dug up a row of Leyland cypresses in my yard because they feared the trees might, someday, if they grew another thirty feet, block the view from their house on the hill. They didn't even bother to lie about it.
In Maine you never know what to expect, and there was a while not long ago when I reckoned the world was about to end. I can't recall why now. But as I look outside it seems that the world is still a going concern and the fall colors in the woods out back seem, if anything, a little better than average this year. Call that Item 1.
April has a terrible rep in these parts — longtime Mainers are known to schedule vacations just to avoid it — but I can't understand why. All that mud is such a splendid metaphor for life arising from the primordial ooze, and there are flowers at the end of it.
October: this is the real heartbreaker.
First, the news. Last Tuesday, the Maine Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatricians issued a strongly-worded statement in support of the NO on 1/Protect Maine Equality campaign. Among the highlights:
"As physicians who care for children and their families, we are committed to supporting what is best for children.
"How is it," wonders Robert Reich, the economist and former Labor Secretary, "that a decision next week by a single senator from Maine will almost certainly determine whether America's future healthcare system is still in the hands of private for-profit insurance companies and Big Pharma or enables more Americans to get better healthcare at lower cost?"
That collective sigh of relief you heard last week came from parents all over Maine watching the yellow school bus (or the beat-up family clunker) ferrying their children off to their first day of classes in academic year 2009-2010. It's arguable whether a summer that never happened can come to an end, but indisputably autumn is upon us and it's time for the kids — and the Congress — to hit the books.
I was browsing my favorite online gardening forum the other day and stumbled into a fascinating thread about marijuana. It was enlightening — not in regard to the plant per se, but in the wider sense of opening a window onto our collective bipolar disorder around this subject.
There's an odd sense of dislocation that afflicts two generations of readers: young adults and older teenagers who grew up reading Harry Potter, and parents who tagged along for the magical ride.