Category Archives: Maine People

Yes, Virginia, there is a small-town American Christmas (or, we find newts in the toilet and Santa is exposed.)

My village, Otter Creek, has an annual Christmas gathering that is part comedy of errors and part a magical suspension of time and personal differences. It is held in the former church, which has lofty ceilings, beadboard walls with old crackly varnish, long windows with colored glass fanlights, and it feels like Christmas even in […]

Fifty shades of yellow OR, I am curious (gray)

A golden glow has taken over the landscape. This is an autumn of intense color—hot pink, burning red, neon chartreuse—but dominating them all are the yellows. Leaves, apples, grass, I saw yellow everywhere I turned. I saw fifty, no, a thousand shades of yellow. I recalled a best seller with a similar title. I had […]

How do you say “Firewood?”

Campers need bonfires, and bonfires require firewood. Every summer roadside stands appear along edges of roads near campgrounds up and down the coast, and, optimistically, quite a few miles away. This is a seasonal business. I doubt anyone makes a career from selling firewood—it is just one of many jobs that is another piece of […]

Through the looking glass: inside a fish shack

Ice house, fish shack

The tiny houses dotted along a frozen surface are irresistible to any one with a camera in hand. Their simple shapes in the middle of a field of ice, surrounded by forest and mountain, have inspired coffee table books and appeared on the covers of magazines. They represent a culture, a world, and, for those […]

Where in the world is Frankfort? Waldo knows…

Plans go awry, and give way to the unplanned. That is how I met Waldo Peirce, and found the village of Frankfort. We were geared up and eager for a four–hour tree ID walk in Holden when we got the cancellation notice. Too cold, we were told. But we were in motion, and so, following […]

Meet the Bar Man

Galyn's Loungs

“Do you know what that is?” Ernie Haskell Brooks asks, stroking his hand over a thick butcher-block counter top. “Cutting board” I respond, wondering if it is a trick question. He is pleased as he shakes his head. “A queen-size head board,” he answers. The massive slab of wood, now mellowed with oil and cut […]