Lake George looking from the Skowhegan-side to the Canaan-side in October.
We went back to Maine for part of this Indigenous People's weekend. It was a whirlwind tour, actually. We had to close the "camp" (shack in the woods) on (Maine's not New York's) Lake George and take in the dock for the winter. It was nice to be back. Contrary to what one might have heard, plenty of ministers both enjoy spending time in church and spending time in nature. The image of the shy, retiring, mousey minister dies hard for some, which is strange. I don't know how such a person would be able to do the job. Its all about people, after all. It is all about being in the world--inhabiting it--and making sense of it.
Anyway, I had to get out of town for a while. There is something very different about the wildness of rural places when compared to the parks and rivers of Burbanian places. Many of my neighbors here in the 'burbs work hard to create the illusion of being in the country. But, of course, we are not.
Northstar Orchard. Madison, ME, also in October
We visited my mom and went apple picking. It was nice to see her. Mom is also serving a UCC church so our schedules don't often mesh. As you can see from the picture, it wasn't quite as crowded as the places in the Nashoba Valley. It was a bit cheaper as well.
The View from Northstar Orchard
The apples were great. No cool varieties, though. My mom picked Macs and we went for the far-superior Cortlands. However, people really come for the view from the top of the hill.
Hiking in Bradbury Mountain State Park, October
After we left my mother's house--laden down both with apples and with books on the "emergent church"--we drove south and stopped at the Sea Dog Brewery in Topsham. My family-of-origin briefly lived just around the corner, but back then it was just an old, rotting mill. My dad spends half the year right over the bridge in Brunswick, where he grew up (he just happened to be in Corpus Christi, Texas, however). Then we started our drive to Portland to visit my sister and her family.
But first we climbed Bradbury Mountain. It is a mountain in name only but it exists in the very center of my Southern Maine growing-up. Not only did we picnic there often when I was a kid, but from the top of the hill--depending on the direction one looks--I can see the ocean, the town where I went to high school, the one I grew up in, the one where I had my first job in high school, and the one where I had my first job after college. When in high school, I would drive by the mountain regularly on my way home. It was nice and--though I find the word a trifle annoying--it was centering to be there in the fall. It was good to know that in some sense it was home.
One of the views from Bradbury Mountain
Now, for all that I can get snarky on Burbania Posts, my home has been a bit south of Maine for some time. There are nice things about where I live and--when we rushed home so Son #1 could go to a birthday party for one of his friends--we were happy to get back. However, that is only one home. A part of home stays on Bradbury Mountain. Another part is up with Mom near my own first settlement as a pastor. A part of it is with the church universal. It sounds goofy, but it is true. Ministers move so the geography of our friendships move too. There are the cities where we once lived; Montreal, Chicago, and Detroit. Mostly, of course, home is where my family is. It is the place that we are drawn back to because of the millions of little things that make a life.
That, I guess, is fine.