Tuesday, September 10, 2013

R&R In Maine

 Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A cool calm morning here on the mountain above Peacham Pond. 46° and windless as the sun adds just a touch of color to the sky as stars twinkle off one by one and a new days starts. For Gail and Alex and me,  we are back in Vermont after 4 days sitting on the beach in Wells, Maine. We do this every year right after Labor Day as an incentive to making it through the next month of cleaning up the nursery, weeding gardens, digging and dividing plants, and receiving orders for next summer that have to be planted now. As fall colors appear and daytime temperatures drop, we have shorter days to get a lot of work finished but the trip to the ocean always seems to provide the necessary rejuvenation.

We have been making this trip to Maine since the early 80's and only missed a year when Alex was born and I think when a family member was moving on to another world. We never stay long and always go about the same time because we know we can count on the weather to be just perfect. We were not disappointed again. What I have noticed is that the beaches we enjoy so much are experiencing serious change and there's nothing we can do about it.

It's hard for Gail and me to comprehend that Alex is actually 21 now but when he was small I would lay on the sand and we would collect all sorts of ocean debris and make little houses and forts and castles decorated with small pieces of driftwood, bird feathers, shells and small stones. It's all different now and it's not just that Alex is 21 that's as noticeable as the missing bird populations, the absence of shells, sand dollars, star fish and sea urchins. The fisherman on the beach don't catch fish like they did in 1982 and their numbers are less than +30 years ago too.
The beaches have changed physically and it appears there is no natural reversion possible. The hurricanes from three years ago reworked the beach in front of the hotel we always stay at and since we have stayed in the same room from year to year, we have a perpetual focus of the oceanfront and how it has changed. What was sand beach is now rock ledge and what was sand awaiting beach goers is now sand dotted with various sized stones that make even walking barefooted most difficult.

So as my hair greys and arthritis reminds me of my age, the world shows change too. Our trip provided rest and relaxation as planned but as for the environment, I am not sure. I walked the trails at the  Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge as I do each year and even there, incorporated as a piece of the third largest estuary in America, I see change. I see it in the river, in the marshes, in the oak forests. I see it along the pathways and I see it in the faces of the people who walk the refuge. Somewhere here there are historical messages that needed to be reread. It's bigger than rereading Carson's Silent Spring or George Perkins Marsh's Man and Nature but if you have not read those of late, consider them..........

Writing from the mountain above Peacham Pond. I hear a loon speaking loonish. If loons had a Webster's Dictionary, it would likely have a bazillion words as loons have been with us for a long, long time.

George Africa
The Vermont Gardener
Vermont Flower Farm
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Always here to help you grow your green thumb!
Come visit. There's still plenty of time to plant!

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