At dawn on Saturday, the last morning of winter, my old Saab glistened under a thin rime of frost. The rising sun would have made quick work of it. But I gave it a half-hearted swipe with a garden glove and puttered off inland with my year-old kitty, Jennifer.
Tragedy has struck in midcoast Maine.
The Mystic Mainer, a noted local clairvoyant, was sitting out back the other day, idly watching raccoons imitating the antics of a 24/7 cable news team in his compost pile, when a brilliant light flooded his consciousness, leaving him temporarily sightless.
When found by his daughter, who is home from college on spring break, not that you'd know it from how often MM has actually seen her, he was muttering in an unknown tongue.
"Rope-a-dope," he seemed to be saying. "Rope-a-dope."
Image courtesy of Kate Braestrup
In an era when a single radio conglomerate controls most of the stations in America, and when even competing stations cycle endlessly through essentially the same weary playlist, it might seem that radio as we knew it is dead. No longer can you dial up the local DJ and request that a song be sent out there to That Special Someone. No longer can the guy doing the weather report glance out the window to see what's really happening.
How better to kill an hour or two at this ghastly time of year, when the landscape has taken on the colors of a road-killed squirrel, than to hop in the car and head out for the hinterlands?
This week, our favorite meterological, romantic and investment advisor answers made-up reader questions about pressing topics of the day.
Dear Mystic Mainer: Is it okay to gloat about the snowstorm hammering Washington, DC? My sister lives in the suburbs and hasn't been able to get out of her driveway all week. She and her husband have three children (my nephews, though you wouldn't know it from how little I see of them) and a lovely house. Part of me just wants to cackle.
-- Feeling Witchy in Waldoboro
"It would be insufferable," the philosopher John Locke declared in 1704, "for a professor to have a reverend beard overturned by an upstart novelist."
I don't know what prompted this outburst. But speaking as a onetime upstart novelist, and now a bearded professor of sorts, I applaud Locke's use of "reverend" and his clear equation of beard-wearing as a mark of wisdom and maturity.
Expectations were running high this week. One of the most riveting public speakers in memory, a man who has weathered personal setbacks over the past year but is nonetheless widely respected for his vision and idealism, was scheduled to take the stage before a highly selective audience — with the rest of the world looking on — and deliver a hotly anticipated speech. Skepticism was rife, but seasoned observers warned that one should never underestimate this man, who has proven himself to be resilient as well as charismatic.
Pity John Baldacci. Our poor governor had to stand up there last night and deliver his final State of the State address in the depths of a recession that has blown a half-billion-dollar hole in the Maine state budget.
Ah, the ides of January!