Monday, June 18, 2012

Perspectives Change

 Bonnie Beard in her Crow Town Gallery studio with some of her recent paintings.
Catch Bonnie's exhibit at Lubec Landmarks July 5-17, 2012.

Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine

My mom has been visiting the past few days. This is her annual spring trip to Lubec and we seem to have a routine that we follow each visit. This year we mixed it up a bit with a trip to Bar Harbor. I hadn't been in years and Mom was itching to get back, too. She and Nana, who passed away in 2007, would spend a couple days there each summer. Mom and I trekked out Saturday taking a leisurely pace down route one. We found ourselves at Jordan Pond eating at a restaurant famous for their homemade popovers and their spectacular view of Penobscot Mountain and the Bubbles. A master baker of popovers herself, Nana loved to eat at this restaurant. It was quite fitting to be there at that time since the day before was what would have been Nana's 90th birthday. 

After lunch, we walked down the hill to the pond.  Throngs of tourists were gathered snapping their best shots of this "untainted" piece of nature. I couldn't help but compare the woods to our own back yard. I saw fell trees, but not as many as we have behind our house. Clearly the woods had been "culled" and "preened" to be more aesthetic, but not so much as to lack some semblance of authenticity.  The trail was perfectly laid with crushed rock that directed the flow of humans. I found myself thinking how beautiful a spot, but that it lacked for me the same spiritual feel that the secluded woods offer in our own back yard. Somehow, the mass of people who moved at a speeded pace, directing small children to pose by this or that rock, after gorging bellies on mounds of strawberry jam and popovers took away from the reverence that one might have felt perhaps two hundred years ago, before the tea house was built,  before the path was trucked-in, before thousands of people hopped on a plane to find this spot to snap a picture and buy a sweatshirt that said "Bar Harbor Maine" even though the inner label clearly stated that it was made in some overseas country, presumably in a sweatshop.

Still, I enjoyed my popover and the view and the stories that Mom recalled of Nana and summers spent on Swan's Island. 

After lunch, and after fifteen or so touristy snapshots, we drove in town to the village. I have fond memories of visits in my younger days, shopping in the nifty boutiques, sitting by the waterfront, listening to live music, and watching the people stroll by. The exterior of the buildings are beautiful and well maintained and people seem joyous carrying their bags and licking at their ice cream cones. I made a mental comparison to my New York City trip two summers ago. In New York, people hustle down the street, cell phones in hand, hurried while passing by windows that house upscale goods in air conditioned spaces, interspersed with the local corner bodega. In Bar Harbor, it was shopping bags and ice cream in hand and a turtle pace as people window shopped and sauntered in and out of the open-to-the-sidewalk doors.

Still, Bar Harbor did not have that same pull that I felt as a child or teen. The exterior of everything was appealing, but most shops disappointed with trinket souvenirs and bric-a-brac. I found it ironic how so many people traveled from other countries to visit a destination that sold a lot of plastic and cheap metal trinkets made overseas.  Along the beautiful waterfront, the sound of hammering and heavy equipment prevailed as a large hotel complex building project consumed the street. One of our favorite shops, Song of the Sea, which sold beautiful handmade musical instruments,  was no longer there. Many waterfront shops had been bought-out to accommodate the huge hotel.

I came away from the day trip with a new perspective and reverence for our own area here in Lubec. The environment is still pristine and untouched by corporate development. When you walk into a shop, the owners greet you with a smile and stories are shared. The waiters and waitresses know all the local digs that one should visit, and cars still stop mid-street when recognizing a passer-by for a chat. The eagles circle over head and other wildlife (bear and moose) may be found sauntering down the street without a care to human ogling. Hiking at West Quoddy is peaceful and reverent with trees all in their natural state, some tall and majestic growing out of cliffs, others listing and uprooted and decomposing back into Mother Earth. Nature's recycling at its finest.

Yesterday we spent a day at home but enjoyed an afternoon drive around Campobello Island , which is just over the Franklin Delano Roosevelt bridge downtown, and then out to West Quoddy to see the famous red and white striped lighthouse. Today we will make our way up to St. Andrew's By the Sea, a ninety minute trip from here by car, about a half hour over the Calais/St. Stephen border. It's a quaint little town with art galleries and boutiques.  Along the way, we will stop by The Red Sleigh in Perry and say hi to Georgie.  It's a sweet little shop set in a rustic old barn with local yummies and gifts/art and I am so pleased to be selling some of my pottery there this season.  Somewhere in our travels, we will hit downtown Lubec as well. So much to see and do here - it's hard to fit it all in on a five day visit!

It feels real good to have some breathing space after such a wild and hectic spring. I am managing a few minutes here and there in the cave to do some glazing and I am starting to open the pottery shop on a more regular basis. Tomorrow I take down my exhibit at Lubec Landmarks and hopefully the installation piece, the shingled column, will be successfully moved over to the library across the street. Rachel Rubeor, president of Lubec Landmarks, has recruited some muscle to help with that task. Crossing fingers on it! After that happens, I will remove shelves and pack up the unsold works, patch some holes, and by Wednesday morning have the space all ready for Royane Mosley who will be showing her paintings and glass works. If in the lubec area, check out her show! Her opening reception is Saturday, June 23rd, 4-6 p.m. I hear that there will be some live jazz music!!! I'm looking forward to showing with Royane and Jean Bookman mid July at the Lubec Memorial Library, too.

And, don't miss Bonnie Beard's exhibit which opens July 5th, also at Landmarks. I had the privilege of visiting her studio last week to view some of her recent paintings. I love LOVE LOVE her most recent painting of seaweed. It looks a beautifully orchestrated underwater dance. When you travel to Lubec be sure to stop by her Crow Town Gallery to see her work. It's a beautiful space overlooking Mowry Beach with her studio located in the upstairs.

Time for me to get moving and get showered so we can begin our excursion over the border. It looks like Mom is sleeping in a bit and the cats are still being relatively quiet. I see some clouds outside but we won't let that deter us! The birds are still singing - that's a good sign!

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