Tuesday, January 18, 2011


What a difference after my initial visit: sure the panel above is a cartoon, but it isn't a caricature of the congestion Acadia National Park experiences (actually the entire Mount Desert Island region) during tourist season. It ain't for nothing that the official state slogans are "Vacationland" and "Worth a Visit, Worth a Lifetime" - something like 3 million of 'em this past year alone. Jockeying for position in the flow of maddening crowds is not unlike navigating a salmon stream during the spawning run. So the off-season is absolute delightful time of discover, versus battling the current of humanity washing over everything, an experience many Alaskans empathize with.

Recently we both joined another couple for a brief outing to "Sand Beach," a popular highlight on the island, and, but for some random footprints, it was utterly deserted. We watched the dogs romp around in the surf, wandered about, and as with another short hike taken the day before, I kept getting entranced with all the little things. Of which there is an awful lot, as evidenced with the beachcombing instinct that kicks in every time I get around a shoreline. I try to not pick up pocketfuls of trinkets and just be contented with simply seeing and letting things lie, but... Then there are all the things you can't take with you, like the gentle undulations of seaweed beds bobbing in the tide; grains of sand re-carried to the ocean by the rivulets of drainage that run back down the beach after every wave; how fast the clouds scutter across the sky.
Cool detail: seeing sections of the shore carpeted with the shells from only one species, as in an area comprised of only mussels, or snails; or crunching across a peculiar mixture of tiny bits of shells ground down into calcium confetti after untold years of pounding from the surf. I love the sight, sound and smell of this place... even walking out the front door every morning and hearing the wind whisper through the enormous pines all around the house is mesmerizing, and worth a pause to appreciate. One of the nice things about relocation is jumping the rails of the habitual disconnect that lulls people into aesthetic anesthesia. I need to take some drives and hikes around the area with a local guide so as to know the names of just what I'm looking at, since this place is so convoluted and compressed I till feel somewhat lost once off the beaten path. Nooks and crannies: as opposed to the openness of Alaska, it seems every twist and turn goes through another secret cove or harbored community here. Another aspect always on the periphery is how the views are always either ensconced in in trees or includes the wide-open flatness of the Atlantic's horizon-line.

*Technical Note: So, for the past two years I've learned much about blogging on the fly, and one of the nagging details I've been meaning to get around to addressing was a case of JPEG-envy over how other people's images on their sites were so much bigger than mine. Fixed that: now when you click on a cartoon it'll actually reopen up several times larger than the scaled-down version in the post. I rank that humbling discovery up there with discovering after the first year of blogging that I in fact didn't have to write all my posts in HTML, that there's actually a little button you can push in this platform that says "Compose" (WYSIWYG). Yeah. Long-time readers will notice the huge difference between formatting issues with those early learning-curve posts and the spiffy new ones. 
Still, I was able to go back, tweak and repost all the "Down East" panels ("Blink," "Nor'Easter" and "Return of the Humble Beaver") and also redid all the upcoming related posts - but unfortunately there'll still be some comparatively stunted "Cheechako" posts in the pipe over the next few weeks. All the archive material will still stay the same, ain't no looking back - as with everything else in life it gets better.

You might have also noticed the addition of two more revamped Picasa web-album slideshow on the side-bar, which'll drag down the time for loading the main page, but I need to promote them for a while here to some new visitors *Update: actually deleted them all with the switch to the new template and tightened-up design, and instead created one main "sampler" set. It's like a shower and a shave...

"I hope you understand
I just had to go back to the island
- Jimmy Buffett


  1. Have you been to Wonderland yet? Amazing tidal pools. And you definitely should meet the folks at Naturalist's Notebook in Seal Harbor when they open next summer. Great folks with some really great ideas.
    Here's a link to their blog in the meantime.


  2. It's on my list! Both of 'em actually... will check out Seal Harbor ASAP.
    Oh - and duh, I finally added Numinosity Beads to AK Blogroll (though it might migrate to AK Artsy-Fartsy, but you and I both now have artistic dual-citizenship!). Thanks!

  3. Thanks, Jamie.
    I can totally see you doing a project with those folks at Naturalist's Notebook. Tell them I sent ya.
    Hey, and I can totally hook you up next summer if you want to go on a lobster boat with our neighbor. He uses our beachfront as access. A real ol' Maine salt, he is.
    I get all excited when I see these Maine posts from your perspective.

  4. Ooohh I'd totally dig that: tell him I promise to stay outta the way and not play with the traps...

  5. You'll have to listen to a lot of cussin' about crab bastahds and your shoes will stink like chum.