Beaver on a nearby stream were responsible for Monday’s power outage. The popple it was harvesting (about 6 in. in diameter according to the paper), toppled onto a high-voltage line. Service was affected in an area of one hundred square miles. The encroachment, back upon us, of this huge furred rodent is heartening.
I have wandered through that beaver workshop as they lay hidden, submerged. Have scrutinized their little pointed stumps, but never saw a stump that size. These beavers are hemmed in by highway five hundred feet along one side, railroad line on the other. At one end is the village, with wood-turning mill. Yet there are the beavers. They work at night, because human presence changes the way to go about it. Like most Mainers they are cozy in winter, provided for by their own industry. Mighty-toothed, strong-tailed, tiny of ear and tiny-eyed. Beasty builders.
Stay with us, beavers. Slap your tails in warning and keep your beasty signals coming. This is my answering, my own peculiar signaling of loneliness and longing. Knock out our electricity. Turn off the lights, shut down the pump, thaw our food, cool the furnace. Remind me of my smallness; if you will. But stay with us. For there are rogues of fear in life; but your disturbing presence has contributed to the recovery of all things.
I decide to tackle, on my new mountain bike, the woods and hills beyond the end of Deer Hill Road—the woods and hills of my big country block. I start by biking the dusty lane: just before the end of the road is an old graveyard, weed-grown and neglected, hidden from view behind a stone wall. I can’t say when someone was last buried here. A weathered granite headstone among sprouting trees and blueberry thickets reads: “Eli H. Cushman … died … 1876. Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright; for the end of that man is peace.”
In this entry you find images taken by my friend, Nancy Jacob, when she was in Guatemala. Where celebrations of Holy Week with sculptures and processions were in progress. There will be more images in this series of Holy Week posts.
For Maundy Thursday, day of flesh and blood, of bread and wine. Left my dwelling under a low cloud, a cold calendar-spring day. The only vivid color cold blue, just beyond the western edge of cloud. Descending into the village slung along the highway, I looked out toward brown lands, and dark conifers, toward the somber town mountain across the river valley. Nearer: colorless houses, crammed together. Muddy water ran in torrents along the downhill roadside. For all the darkness of cloud above me, the air was surprisingly crisp. It was one of those cleansing Canadian systems, blowing through Western Maine on the day of broken body and blood.
Today Christians commemorate what’s called Palm Sunday after the palm-strewn triumphal entrance into Jerusalem of THE LORD JESUS CHRIST (as my best friend in childhood always called him). Now the story sometimes goes that this was one of your typical ragtag joyful spontaneous moments.
Currently 2° F with tall naked trees waving back and forth, ham radio antenna wires bouncing above a small snow-hardened yard. It’s mid March—will this go on much longer? Below are some notes from mid March eight years ago.
Ten, twelve years ago I self-identified as old. Not one old person mocked me for this. Perhaps they extended courtesy because they were woke. I’m not sure. Anyway I ended up writing a metaphorictype series of entries, eventually compiling them in a book. A theme, aside from winter, was my trending into old age―old age as the Big Winter. The title is Maine in Winter. It is part of a series comprised in four creative nonfiction books, called Maine Metaphor. There is no fiction in these books.
I thought to try writing a letter since the power is out. Very high wind yesterday with 40,000 Maine household power outages. Very cold weather, temps sank from 1 to 0° on waking, but the power on our road (about 16 houses) withstood until 10 a.m. Trees were knocking down powerlines. Woodlands here are full of trees old and new, rotting and strong. Fortunately — blessedly — we borrowed for a generator recently, highly useful when outages happen any season, as they do here.