Heading North to Maine. Heading into the North Maine woods
What is the magic of just the location, that one word North? Heading into the North Maine woods. Pointing whatever you drive or piling in with a group of friends to head North to ski, snow sled, hunt, fish or get out on the water.
On a compass or a map, the first thing the user wants to determine is where is North. Because the needle better seek north. Not have a mind of its own. And after rolling out the tightly curled up map, you look first and foremost for the arrow pointing in the direction of North. The orientation of North trumps all the west. You have to know where is North first to get your bearings and avoid vertigo.
The North star, Polaris used for navigation unless pesky cloud cover messes up the exercise to know if you are still heading in the right direction.
Up North in Maine. Each quadrant of the circle conjures up an image or two of the other regions. Causes the dream maker insider all of us to consider what if we headed in that particular direction armed with knowledge from the grapevine. Just hearing, seeing, thinking about one word from books, the boob tube or conversations.
West, heading out west.
Panning for gold. Laying claim to free land, a new start for your family in the wagon train. Or smelling like soot. Riding the iron rails in the steel horse gnawing on beef jerky. New unspoiled fertile land, heavily wooded with incredible scenery out West awaits you. All aboard.
Someone in your family’s past headed West to make their fame and fortune right? Hoping they were not a gun slinger or horse thief. Cowboys, rodeos, branding irons, lasso roping scared little Hereford calves. Waving a branding iron for the circle K tattoo. Surf boards, 409’s, Rodeo Drive, Route 66, Area 51 are what you find out West. Hope we don’t have one big final Earthquake.
Pass me that harmonica Cookie. We get to the Rockies by night fall tomorrow if the bag balm works like a charm on lame old on Lightning here. I got a dose of the joint paint myself. Hand me that little green square tin will you? (Rattlesnake sound, hungry wolf howling, cactus shadows around campfire perimeter). Another splash of coffee or a long haul on the flask filled with the recipe?
South, down south.
You might picture mint juleps, Southern hospitality, cotton and tobacco and moonshine. Gray colored material pitted against dark blue. Sitting a spell on a huge mansion porch held up by large pillar columns. Pleasant weather in the sunny South where snow shovels are not needed. Kentucky blue grass music fills the air. Is that a banjo in the mix?
Chasing white golf balls, fishing for red snapper, liberally applying sun screen on your kids at the sandy seashore. Visiting glove wearing cartoon characters at the Magic Kingdom. Pour me another tall glass of the orange juice Anita Bryant. Leave in lots of the pulp and make it country style. Boll weevil and termites and Tennessee walkers. We’re down south.
East, Far east.
Sounds exotic, I can hear zitars and harp strings and pan flutes. Where we have a serious shortage of four legged chairs. Lots of pillows though all over the flooring. You might think about spices, smooth shiny silk, the fragrance pretty blue lotus flower and sitting cross legged clearing your mind. (Snap) Need another pair of chop sticks to chase your rice cakes and raw fish around the plate? Those waxed paper thin sliding house doors would not stand up to a gale force Maine wind.
North. Due North.
Unfortunately for some, the first thought that pops in your head is snow. Lots of white stuff. Maybe reindeer that go air born. The cheerful short round guy dressed in red velvet / white fur trimming. Ho ho ho Santa, Mrs. Claus and their low to the ground gang with the pointed ears. Dog sleds and float planes for transport and igloos for housing. Polar bears of white riding on ice floes.
Maine is parked up North.
But you can go way way further climbing up the lines of latitude on the spinning globe. Extreme north can be the vision of Maine for those who have never set foot in the Vacationland state. Maine shares borders with Canadian provinces which causes a cultural exchange missing at the North Pole. There are no polar bears in Maine.
When you live in Maine, West becomes Jackman, Sugarloaf Or Sunday River. Your South orientation becomes the Wells, York Beaches, the Old Port, Kittery Trading post.
Your Downeast Maine a winding trip up US Route One to get your fill of lobsters, steamers filled with clams and fresh native corn on the cob. Look, was that a distant lighthouse, hump back whale or eagle spotted off the bow of the schooner?
I live in Northern Maine.
But where I blog from you can travel two hours north and still be in Maine. Up in the St John River Valley in the Crown of Maine. Aroostook County is the largest of Maine’s sixteen. Aroostook the garden of Maine known for its potato fields. The heavily wooded forest land, the clean lakes and rivers. The fresh air and winter is just one of the four months. And there is lots to be said about your wood burning stove, the charm of winter living in Maine.
What is your image of Maine? Hopeful more than winter snow flakes, icicles and hand knit mittens and hat. Sample ME for yourself. You fill up your mental slate with experiences in Maine. Any chance you can get, sneak or steal away to Maine. Easy to find and always due north from most places. Define Maine in your own words and from personal experiences you collect and cherish any of the four seasons.
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