Searching for the Spring: Poetic Reflections of Maine
MY HEART was first molded a Mainers when I was five and my parents purchased land on Lake Androscoggin in Wayne where they built a summer camp.My father was a minister and, consequently, we always lived in homes that, as I saw it at the time, were loaned to us. But the camp in Wayne was ours. It has always been, and still is, the center of our family s life and the summer gathering point for family members who are spread out all over the eastern seaboard. My wife Ann and I both graduated from Colby College in Waterville,Maine, and after seven years in temporary residence in the mid-west, we returned to Maine to raise our family and to become official residents. That was thirty-three years ago. We bought an old farm in Rumford Center, up toward Andover, that hadn t been lived in for five years, had hay growing right up to the front door, a hole in the back roof, an L and shed and attached barn that went on forever, five outbuildings in various stages of decay.We lived there for thirteen wondrous years, raised two children, a small herd of Black Angus cattle, chickens (and eggs), bees (and honey). We hiked the woods, climbed the cliffs, skied the snowmobile trails that could take us through the wilderness to Canada.We burned eight to ten cords of wood every winter (wood that we cut, split, hauled, and stacked ourselves), swam in the Ellis River all summer, fought the snow drifts every winter day to get out and later to get back in, rose every morning to the sun coming up over the cliff in back of our barn and went to bed every night to the glow of sunsets behind the mountain and cliffs on the other side of the valley. When our slave labor force graduated from high school and went to live their lives as Mainers in other corners of the state, we reluctantly said farewell to the mountains and our farm and now enjoy coastal suburbia in Freeport. We still live in the country, (Maine doesn t really have a suburbia), in an 1830 New England center chimney cape with three fireplaces and a yard that is bordered by woods.We both are past our 60th birthdays, still working (Ann teaches in an elementary school, I teach at the University of Southern Maine), both dealing with health issues that have raised our appreciation of good health. (Ann has an implanted defibrillator; I have Parkinson s.) But we are grateful that we live in such a beautiful place, surrounded by family and the beauty of Maine. One last note of possible interest: I began writing poetry two years ago when I wanted a way to tell Ann how much she meant to me.We have known each other since we were twelve and have been in love since we were seventeen. The poem One Moment, One Lifetime was the first poem I wrote. Having had fun composing it, and finding out that through poetry I can explore and express my feelings, I have been writing ever since. I don t attempt to hide the fact that my poetry is personal stuff, but that is what poetry should be. And, because it s personal is why I begin this collection with a little information about the person who wrote it. I hope that by reading these poems you get to feel a little of the pervasive culture of Maine in which human beings find rejuvenation, inspiration, connection and strength from the mountains and forests and waters of this beautiful corner or our country.