The second entry was a poem, sort of.

this was fun to write — in a flurry of inspiration, sitting in my living room with a pencil and my journal —  scribbling furiously as the ideas were flowing. I wish times like this would visit me more often. The joy and satisfaction was supreme.

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Center Lovell – An Ode to a  Country Inn

I should like an Inn to own

and operate just like a home

away from home; a locale for guests

to step back in time with elegance.

Forget their troubles instantly

through MAINE-ly hospitality

their cares do swiftly fall away

by enticing meals so savory,

Décor & banter rich & light,

With quiet comfort through the night.

awakened by the light of dawn

and sweet aromas from the lawn

where on the porch invites the gaze

at God’s handiwork, amazed

by purple mountain’s majesty

while sipping morning fantasy.

Off they go now, pleasantly

to joyous day’s activity.

In earnest then our work begins

to prep our stately Country Inn.

A team like family to run

a smooth & tight-knit clockwork sprung.

Keeping guests their top concern

leaves no clean comforter unturned.

Hedges clipped, pillows pressed,

Flowers gathered, turkey dressed.

For, diligence will pay its due

When smiles return a bright ‘Thank You!’

When guests pack up and take their leave

a wisp of satisfaction grieves; for

There’s nothing quite like the grin

of welcomed guests at a Country Inn.

A pipe dream ignited, then extinguished

I have a co-worker at the elementary school who is really a visionary. She also is a very accomplished special education educator. She introduced me to an idea that sparked my imagination, but more importantly, it prompted me to engage in the writing process in earnest.  What is written below is a first draft of a response to the challenge to write an essay to win a premier bed & breakfast.  I didn’t win. I didn’t place. But I wrote and wrote and wrote. This is the first draft which was later paired to 200 words.

—————————–Center Lovell Inn

May, 2015

             I have the passion, the will and the know-how to run a country inn. But this is not just any ‘bed and breakfast;’ this is the Center Lovell Country Inn; a signature establishment in Maine – Vacationland of the Eastern seaboard. I would like to own and operate this enterprise to give back in welcoming hospitality what Maine has given –and what this endeavor would give – to me: a past to honor, a present to stir the soul, and a future to pay it forward.

From my youth I have come to Maine. Mother’s homestead is but an hour east to Wales. The journey from our home to her childhood land filled me with wonder and exuberance. Here was real life! I can still waft the rich sweetness of the grain bin and milking parlor’s creamery, or shudder over the gutsy climb through the bull’s pen to fetch eggs from the hen house. Life fills to the brim reliving reflective hikes up Sabattus Mountain amidst craggy spruce and birch; recalling long jaunts to Seal Harbor to see Aunt Ina and hear stories of the rugged but romantic past: four generations breathing fresh cedar and salt-sprayed air, etching life from a mill aside the pond at the heart of Acadia, where a Pond House now sits, still bearing their name.

I have been a pastor and a school teacher in Florida and New York for most of my adult life. When recently my wife of thirty years said good-bye, something stopped beating deep within. Going through motions of long hours at work and bewildered times of silence at home, I not only lost a partner, I was losing my way….So today a colleague passes this link to me on email. I pause to peruse; then let the idea sink in – a country inn from an essay with a vision – and something stirred, something revived! My two boys! My love for serving others! Our work running church and planning lessons and summer camps, chauffeuring, catering, promoting; storytelling and laughing! Kevin’s degree in hospitality! Tom’s and my experience in landscape and roofing, home maintenance and event management! We could do this! Suddenly ideas begin to flow; could it be – dreams once shattered are transformed?!

So here in New York I watch the snow slowly release its grip across our rural town. I saw the first robins on Sunday. Chipmunks arouse themselves along the walkway and hope emerges with the sun and snowdrops by the lamp post. I know what a respite in the country can do for the spirit. Folks from away or only an hour come, lay aside tools of power and productivity to become human again; to open blind eyes, bind up wounds to the smell of warmed maple sugar on blueberry pancakes. Life becomes real again. I cannot think of a more exhilarating metamorphosis for a broken man and his sons than to step in to large shoes and carry on a tradition of giving, caring and restoring. If I may borrow a portion of the Savior’s renown: ‘Greater love hath no one than this – than he lay down his life…’ to honor the past, revive a soul, and pay love forward time out of mind.

Musings on the Jordan Brothers

Before I had come up on the pond house area, I sidetracked into the woods along a carriage road at first. I hopped on to a trail, a footbridge crossing Jordan brook, then over to a path that looked at first like a side-trail.  It dwindled to nothing, and I traced open meanderings through what I imagined it must have been like for my ancestors. As I looked around, I could see beneath the beauty that draws us here, through to the rugged hillside simply put: riddled with moss-laden boulders. pinning these to the ground were cedars, birch and a few broad-leaf maples.  I thought to myself, no wonder my great-great grandfather and his brother started a mill; One certainly couldn’t farm this land!  It made me think the purchase of the 2,600 acres was intentional, since they already ran a farm in Ellsworth. Did they intend to create a lumber business? After all, it was the late 1830’s; saw mills were popping up everywhere – especially the new-fangled steam-powered ones.

 

Thanks to The NPS for these public domain photos
Thanks to The NPS for these public domain photos

Jordan pond aristocrates

This land purchase was almost one hundred years before the familiar conflict between locals, loggers and newly arriving aristocrats from away. While the intentions of the wealthy newcomers have been debated among scholars and novices alike, we nevertheless have a National Park on part of an island whose rugged beauty was just that to the visitors, as it is today. Beneath the picturesque lies the struggle of residents to etch out a living among nature’s extremes. The similarities are striking: what visitors to the island see is what they come to see: vistas, ocean, wildlife. They come to get away. Meanwhile, those who live here- especially year round – experience the island’s gifts in a whole different way. Certainly the beauty inspires. But there’s so much more here. Families form, grow, struggle, revel, and pass on here. These are the ones who know ‘short cuts’ avoiding traffic in order to get to work on time. There are coffee stops and eateries where home-town friends share conviviality just around the corner from the hubbub of busy, disconnected nightlife.  The question has arisen in my mind before – when helping students study volcanoes:  Why would anyone want to live here? – I mean its a great place to visit. But live? make a living? go to school? take a vacation away from here? The answer lies in the heart of the people who have been here – some for generations. And just as it was for those who live near volcanoes, so it is with those who choose to live, work and grow on this and its surrounding islands. There is a richness that comes within the struggle. Risk produces reward, if not heartbreak. So live they do. And live they did.

Did George and John have any clue how the next century would unfold? Were they merely speculators riding the wave of the newest money-making industry? Was it for shear profit that they grabbed a swatch of land stretching from Seal Harbor to Salisbury cove?  Were they risk-takers? Did they need a major change – was it the 1800’s form of mid-life crises?

Their intentions may not be apparent. But what transpired in both the nation and along the pond’s edge in the 1860’s would change everything for these families.

June 29th, 2015

In just a little over a month from one visit to the next, new blueberry plants are finding their way to the sun.

 

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May 25th 2015

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explanation…. sounds reasonable…

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June 29th, 2015

update: July 15th, 2015 — in just another week there should be blueberries in the region!  I will be back to this patch to see if that is the case here.

 

 

June 30th, 2015

After work the fog settled in on Jordan Pond and its surroundings. Enshrouded in dampness, the woods took on a quieting where only dripping, songbirds, and the brook could be heard. So still was the moment that as I sat along the edge of the pond, I hadn’t noticed the doe slowly approaching behind me. Feeding nonchalantly on the moss and grass she moseyed up to within only several feet. She must have been there a good couple of minutes before I understood what I was hearing to be that of … munching. When I looked around, there she was – and at the same moment I looked at her, she picked up her head and looked at me. Not wanting her to dash, I looked away and pretended to mind my own business. Sure enough, she went back to munching. And I enjoyed the reality of the moment.

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The hills should be in the background there, somewhere, but not today…

going backward

today’s posts are things written previously — and delayed in their posting.
This one was written while relaxing on the southern shore of Mt. Desert Island in a cove called Seal Harbor at low tide.

July 1, 2015

Today, as with yesterday, I wanted to immerse myself into the environment of my ancestors. As with Hannah, and later on, George (jr) and Carrie, yesterday’s posturing along the mouth of Stanley brook at low tide had me listening to the water’s sound. This evening’s walk up to and along Jordan’s stream had me pondering the paradox of water rushing out of Jordan’s Pond and into Little Long Pond, and from there racing toward the sea; and yet neither pond goes dry. It had me longing to understand the realities my ancestors faced while living alongside this spectacular scenery. Did the children notice what we notice? Did mom and daughter stop, pick wildflowers and ponder the ‘bubbles’? Did father and sons ever take in the scents, sights and sounds around them and consider themselves as rich as anyone alive? Work was hard…as it is now, on the island. But the sun rises and sets, the surf pounds and laps shoreline upon shoreline. And at the end of the day when the work is set aside, was there a satisfaction and an enjoyment that comes from such a setting? I want to know.IMG_0028

Read my smile

trip to Deer Isle

Friday, July 10th I was blessed with a beautiful evening ride to Deer Isle  with a new friend. It was about a 2.5 hour trek round trip, which is perfect for a summer evening. The view, the restaurant and the conversation was refreshing- thank you, Kathy!

Seal Harbor history mystery

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This week I have finally situated a routine that hopefully will establish itself and open opportunities to search for records, diaries, journals, logbooks and police blotters that might give reference to the demise of George N Jordan (senior) in March of 1863. Was it merely “consumption” as the obituary states? Was it a sawmill accident as my mother’s cousin relates? If so, what was the nature of the accident? Many questions, if answered, will serve to assemble a puzzle of the days and lives before Jordan Pond House became a restaurant. The untold story of the life and struggle of the Jordans at the pond may come to light. It is this tale I wish to tell — on behalf of my relatives — to memorialize and substantiate the endurance of the pond’s name to this day. Things are peaceful in Seal Harbor this morning. Has it always been so? We shall see.

Time to get serious

Sunset reflections
Sunset reflections

As summer work gets underway, its time to get serious about writing. Thanks to my son, Tom for setting this up. I’m going to entitle this summer’s blog series, “On Jordan Pond” which is fairly accurate.