Today will be my last day in the woods…at least for now. I’ve packed up everything but my tent and sleeping bag by mid afternoon, spent several hours relaxing with Vinny, and generally made this day the quietest one of all. Today is Saturday so there are no trucks on the road, no men cutting trees in the deep woods. All that broke the silence was just a few souls passing by on their way to campsites to spend a day or two soaking up all that Maine has to offer to those who seek it.
I admit my camera never came out today. All the pictures in this post were taken on the drive out the next day. Today I spent all my time just being here. No campfire, no music, no elaborate meals, just being. The effect was as if all time had stopped, life itself stood still if only for a moment. I spoke not a single word out loud today, just a friendly smile to a few passersby, and a comforting pet on the head to my best furry friend. Everybody has their Zen moment, a time when clarity takes over to replace indecision. That day for me came about today on the shores of Wadleigh Pond.
I again affirmed in my mind how little in the way of possessions I really need, how cumbersome even a house as small as this Warden Station, would be to the freedoms I long to live by. I remembered why I camped so much as a young man, and the heartbreak of giving it up when I married a city girl. The sense of being totally at ease is something I can never seem to achieve away from the trees. I have written in the past about feeling like a modern day “Grizzly Adams” or “Jeremiah Johnson”, alone in the wilderness with nothing but their wits and the animals. Had I been born in the 1800’s, that exactly who I would have been.
Every campsite I pass by draws me in with promises of starry nights and the loons call. The wind in the trees and the hoot of an owl. The morning dew on the grass, the smell of the pines. I truly believe I belong in a different era, a throwback to the past when the pioneers first settled the west with nothing but a rifle, their horse and the will to find their spot in the world.
As I pass through the Caribou checkpoint on my way out I suddenly realize I may be premature with my future plans. Maybe I’m not meant for the sea, at least not yet. If I give up all that I feel when I am here, will I regret that decision? Is this longing to turn around and go back to the pond just a mirage in the mind of someone trying to find their way? I’m not entirely sure, but I feel I must find out.
Within an hour of arriving back at my work truck, before I even started any laundry or dinner, I went on Craigslist and bought this Jeep. I will fit it out this winter with a rooftop tent, (no more sleeping on the hard ground!) a 12 volt refrigerator, racks for tools and my generator along with a kitchen on rails that will slide out of the back door for ease of use. I will work crazy hours this winter, then take as many as 5 months off next summer and do nothing but camp in the North Woods, take photographs and compose short videos. I may even step out of my comfort zone and rent space at some of the many outdoor Arts and Crafts shows throughout Maine. You, my online friends, have been so supportive about my photo’s maybe it’s time I tried for an even bigger audience!
Like all these old trees along the shore of this lake, many photographs look the same on the web. It’s only when you see them firsthand that you start to see the subtle differences, the thought or feeling the photographer was trying to capture and impart to you the viewer, to have you think and feel the same upon viewing. Standing by that lake I saw more than just a jumbled pile of wood. I saw years of growth, yearning for the sun, struggling through the storms. Reaching maturity and feeling the hand of time pulling you back down. Finally giving way for the next generation to come forth and provide habitat for the birds and shelter for the deer. The circle of life…I feel it here and I can’t walk away.
PS: If all you saw on my last post was a picture, WP in their unending screw ups deleted all the post but that one picture! It’s all fixed if you wish to go back.