When Mainers dream about summer, the skies are always blue and we are basking blissfully in the sun. And there’s definitely no buzzing, biting, or swatting. So every year we are, as one writer put it, “newly horrified” by the onslaught of bugs and this summer it really has been worse than usual. The blame falls squarely on the other thing we’ve all been complaining about: the rain.
Much as I respect former Senator George Mitchell, I never imagined he’d say anything that would change my life. Of course, busy as he’s been in various crises, from baseball to the Middle East, he may not even remember what he said at the 2004 Maine Water Conference.
Should you give in to hope or firmly remind yourself that the best predictor of the future is the past? I wish I’d answered that question before double-clicking the attachment in George Smith’s email last week.
Smith is the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine (and writes a blog for this Web site). The working title of his column for the September issue of the Maine Sportsman is “Problems Fester in Maine Warden Service.”
My father and grandfather believed, like their fathers and grandfathers before them, that everything on earth was put here for the use of mankind. “And God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.’” (Genesis 1:26)
After 32 years together, we had a routine that satisfied us both. After a day’s fishing, I’d jump out of the canoe and start carrying up all the gear, except my rod, to the truck. Meanwhile, my husband George would sit on the shore, smoking a cigarette and gazing peacefully at one of his favorite spots on earth.
Remember Pollyanna? She’s the title character of a 1913 best-seller and 1960 movie and her name has become a synonym – often a sarcastic one – for an optimistic philosophy. It centers on her "Glad Game," which involves finding something to be glad about in every situation. She learned it from her missionary father one Christmas when Pollyanna hoped to find a doll in a barrel of donations, but discovered crutches instead. And how can you be glad about that? Because "we don't need them!" her father said.
It’s been more than a decade since Dr. T.K. Lee, a microbiologist at the Maine Health and Environmental Testing Lab, taught me to see the raccoon rabies virus as a wave of sickness, death and fear engulfing towns and counties one by one.
It’s bear hunting season. No, not the time of year when people hunt bears (that starts in late August). Bears are hunting hard for food and they could end up scrounging in your backyard.
There are places where waking up to the sound of singing birds is little more than an aggravation. In Maine, in April, it’s a miracle.
The Maine response to spring is, like many other things here, subtle. We welcome spring, but it’s not a noisy or public celebration. We’re more like the diehard crowd standing at the marathon finish line, urging the last wobbling runner to stumble across. Our celebration takes place on a sunny step out of the wind, as we close our eyes and take a long breath. We made it through another winter.
Picture a guy in bikini underwear picking blueberries. The weather turns nasty, the temperature drops to the 40s, and he gets disoriented and lost. Will Maine's sportsmen and women pay to find him?
That rhetorical question was asked and answered in 1996 by Paul Jacques, then a state representative from Waterville. “They get lost because they do stupid things. They get themselves in a situation, and we go bail them out,” Jacques said. “But the sportsmen are getting sick and tired of paying for it.”