I've just started reading Moby Dick. I've always wanted to read it, and the house here has a copy that is sufficiently aged and yellowed to give it the character of old New England. Deer Isle's income is mostly through lobster, but I'd be surprised if there wasn't some whaling done here in the past. Well, look at the Tavern name "The Whale's Rib." Either there is some historical references to whaling here, or the namers of the place are under the same tent of illusion than I'm under.
We walked a little road once again in search of the "Lily Pond." A dirt road passes the homestead back into the woods to somebody else's house. We walked until we saw the house, and decided we were going the wrong way.
A call in the morning from our hosts helped clarify the location, so I grabbed an apple and walked there alone in the afternoon, taking a break from writing. It's about a 1/4 mile or so down a trail that has narrow tire tracks. On the way I heard an engine and stood off the path as two A.T.V.'s bearing teenage boys came by. A bit more, and the path opened onto a small lake, indeed with lily pads. A bit chilly when I was there for swimming. A man sat on a bench, hands cupped to his mouth yelling "Ca-CAAW, ca-CAAW"
"What are you calling?" I asked.
"Nothing," he said. "I just like the echo."
We went to Stonington, whose name reveals more of the Island's past: Granite quarrying. Rockefeller plaza, among other of the New York high-rises, was built out of Deer Isle granite. It was one of the most popular in the country, until concrete displaced it as building substrate of choice.
We ate lunch in a little diner called the Harbor Cafe that seemed to be popular with the locals, although it's not always easy to tell who is local and who is tourist. A little bookshop had a section on Buckminister Fuller, with a sign explaining that he spent (some or much or all) of his childhood in the nearby islands. One of his first inventions was brought by observation when he would cross to a nearby island to get the mail. He watched the jellyfish swim by, and devised a bag on the end of a pole that he would use instead of paddles. It would open and resist water as he pushed it down, propelling the boat, and close as he pulled it up, offering little resistance. This way, he could cross the channel facing forward in the boat, and without manning the heavy oars.
A little local grocery was our next stop to grab some essentials, then back to the homestead for more writing time. I'm finishing up the design of this blog, and if it looks blue and sleek, then I've succeeded.
I'm traveling with my mother, who hurt her foot earlier this week, so we had to go slowly when I showed her where the lake was. We made our way through the woods, and I realized that they looked very different to me moving slow, rather than earlier when I went through them purposefully. Some teenagers were swimming far out into the lake, having shed their clothes by the shore.
We made our way back, Mom heated her left-over pasta from the night before, and I made a crunch salad. We watched a bit of TV, did more writing and headed off to bed. Call me Ishmail, I read, pulling the covers up to my chin against the surprisingly chilly night.
Posted by: Martin McClellan
On the date of: September 10, 2005 01:43 AM