Maine Road Notes (Sept. 1978)

When I was in my 20s, I traveled a lot around northern New England--Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. I wrote more about Maine than the other places I went. Going through old notebooks, I found this piled-up report about what I had seen on a trip in September 1978. I was in between relationships, which must explain the women-women-women section about halfway through. This piece is a time capsule of sorts from the days of back-to-the-land, back country thinking and acting by the Woodstock generation. People were creating progressive pockets of settlement in the rural northeast, exploring self-sufficiency, and reinventing themselves after childhoods in the suburbs for many of them.---PM

Blueberry fields turn red, scarlet, crimson, rusty, the low-riding hills, low plants, scrubby Down East terrain rolling to the ocean, new-hayed fields, hay balers, tractors, roadside sign $20 per bushel of clams hosed clean for steaming

Inlet sardine factory punched-out front splinters split beams broken teeth collapsed in back sagging roof gray rotten sills busted down and beside it a half-sunk old sardine boat white peeling hull gray boards decayed thru-out calm blue water in the cove

Looking downhill the sun breaks into mirrors on the water blue pools blue ocean notched into this coastal section land slopes down to the sea a one-lane wooden bridge crosses low over shallow water orange maples by shiny red trees and golden-yellow leaves daub the partly green woods on all sides creamy tan grass in every field freshly cut acres sprout green whiskers Indian Summer

Quart jars of maple syrup enormous pumpkins dulse bread whole-wheat bagels w/cream cheese mung bean salad country fiddlers Common Ground Fair Litchfield Maine south of Augusta goats w/snipped ears giant draft horses pole-climbing horse-pulling solar collectors solar cells windmills wind-power fruit smoothies lemonade w/honey women country women young rural women t-shirt women blue-denim women farm-dress women boots & braids women suntanned lean-cheeked women full-hipped clean-lined women shiny-haired women clear-eyed women young healthy women women fiddlers & cooks & clowns & artists women women women and their men in dusty thirsty boots thick-haired pony-bound hat-topped strong-armed sunburnt arms reddened cheekbones dirty bare feet pressed painter's white pants vest-wearing worn boots sheep-shearing book-selling alternative energy systems and structure designers all ages people 1 to 100 at the fair carrots potatoes cukes zukes squash tomatoes all hung with blue prize ribbons families many young families w/babies in papoose pouches & carry sacks & strollers or held by hand led around the grounds animal auction nifty little goat kids small faces taller milk goats clean-washed goats some w/ears cut off beefalo beef cattle grass-fed cattle buffalo hybrids large brown cattle Shetland ponies long-maned crowds and crowds storytellers puppet shows weathermen girl w/long skirt walking around on stilts like normal strolling

Tents with exhibits books paintings pottery stained glass weaving macrame rugs etchings prints cane-work jewelry t-shirts literature & pamphlets natural food land reform childbirth info birth control info anti-nuke booth shelter institute insulation wood-splitting organic farming MOFGA Maine Organic Farmers & Growers Association organic seeds compost improvement beefalo semen rabbit cages pigeon cages sheep-shearing wool-carding wool-spinning thread-making yarn-spinning cloth-weaving spinners' circle spinning wheels pedal power ox teams pony sled rides human jukebox food stands hot dogs lamb-burgers tacos egg rolls o.j. vegetable Syrian bread sandwiches rice dish ice cream power tools farm machinery chainsaws lobster cart balloon man lost children announcements exhibition halls guest speakers Wendell Berry in the horse-pulling ring w/grandstand Helen & Scott Nearing yesterday talking about "Living the Good Life" Berry's "The Unsettling of America" the New Alchemists the American Friends Service Committee H.O.M.E. the Heifer Project Hunger International solar tents films slide-shows postcards wood stoves R-factor log-houses broad axe-hewn beams notched beams cordwood houses blacksmith Clivus Multrum ecological toilet hand-knit mittens w/red price tags shawls leather goods leather & lather show thermo-pane farmers police officers jammed parking lot people streaming in

---from Workbook "C" (Sept. 23-24, 1978)