Monday, May 31, 2010

We have arrived!

Opened camp, heard the loons, saw the hummingbirds and ate lobster and clams--all in the first 48 hours!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Departure Day!

Today’s the day! Finally, it’s time to leave for Maine. On Friday, we’ll get to our camp on Little Sebago Lake. I will open the door to a smell so evocative that I wish it could be bottled up to enjoy in the winter. It is composed of pine wood, mildew, old books, moth balls, sand, and sunlight. It is the smell of my childhood summers and of all the summers of my life. I once read that the sense of smell, of all the five senses, is the strongest for tapping information stored in long term memory. A smell has the power to tap into one’s forgotten history, and the memory of a smell can transport one directly into the past. I can remember the smell of wet wool socks drying on the wood stove . . . whiskey in my grandfather’s glass . . .sun tan oil (no SPF in my childhood, we used iodine emulsified in baby oil to enhance the natural tan) . . . the smell of my mother’s ironing our cotton sheets. . . the sulfur from the match that lit my father’s cigarette.

In theory, opening up camp should be easy. The boat has been delivered out of storage to our driveway. We hired someone to clean up the yard, what there is of it, and to put in the dock. All our clothes are already there. The food staples are in the cupboards, sealed in airtight canisters. We should be able to walk in the door, flip on the breakers, carry a few nests of baby mice out into the woods, and then be good to go. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Friday, May 21, 2010

A photo album from Marilyn

I change the wallpaper on my laptop to match the season. Each fall, I upload an image of the Ohio State Buckeyes lined up for the kickoff against Wisconsin in Columbus. I took that picture with my phone in 2003 when OSU played –and beat--Wisconsin. In the winter, my desktop icons find a home in the snow scene I downloaded from a website. But in the spring, when my thoughts turn to Maine, I use an assortment of summer pictures that I have taken at camp. I’m sharing them with you--just click here.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

One week til Little Sebago Lake

We’re almost ready to make our car trip to our place on Little Sebago Lake in Maine. In one more week, we’ll be on the road.

We’ve already packed camp stuff we have collected over the winter and stuffed it into big plastic trash bags because they fit better into the trunk of our mid sized car. We packed each bag’s contents according to the room in which it will be stored once we get to Little Sebago Lake. For Christmas, someone has given us a set of towels with moose motif —into the bathroom bag they go, along with the biodegradable shampoo I ordered from a “green” website. It’s supposed to be better for the septic system. We know it’s better for the earth and the lake. In the kitchen bag is a box of panko bread crumbs—something I can’t get in the little Maine store at which I like to grocery shop. Into the bedroom bag is the new bathing suit I got on sale at Target last fall.

Mostly, there are books. I’ve been collecting them all fall and winter and spring—some I ordered so I can continue the research project I hope to pursue in the summer—this year, the topic is Arctic exploration. I want to write a children’s book about Marie Peary, daughter of the Arctic explorer.

Most of the other books I’ve packed are fiction. I order these books “used” from an online book store. My pleasure reading tastes are eclectic—historical fiction, mysteries, personal narrative, the occasional romance. I always include at least one volume of poetry, something I read only in the summer. I don’t know why that is.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Getting ready to go to Little Sebago Lake

All my summer roads lead to a porch in Maine.

It is late May and I find myself in the basement of my Ohio house sorting through the basket of stuff I’ve collected over the winter. It is time to start packing for our annual trek to Maine and our camp on Little Sebago Lake. The school year is over (I teach) and the grades have been turned in. The neighbor kids will mow the lawn and water the flowers. The paper has been stopped, the paperwork filled out to forward the mail. Blockbuster will send my rental movies to a post office box in Gray, Maine.

In the old days, there used to be car seats and playpens and diaper bags and toys. Not to mention bug spray, sunscreens, ear drops and children’s Tylenol. We had a minivan then, and we towed a small fishing boat back and forth from Ohio. One year, our daughter (who wanted to be a ballerina) packed her tu tu, tiara and tights. She’s now a financial advisor. Our son , who wanted to be a fireman at the time, packed his hard hat and toy axe. Today he works as a substance abuse counselor, helping to put out fires of another kind.

Nowadays I make the journey to Maine with my husband and our geriatric dog, Oliver. Both are housebroken, thank God, but the dog needs to be tranquilized to make the 13-hour drive. We leave next week.  I can hardly wait.