Meeting Hermon

In the past week, life seems ever more to be a wide, sluggard of a river, a personal Mississippi, and I am happily on a stalwart raft drifting around another bend, through another fog bank.  I am pleasantly upbeat as I write this and I haven’t had a drop to drink…  I must attribute it to the wonderful Yorkshire tea that I have grown unusually fond of these days…

There was a wonderful weekend in the southern Shire visiting with Minders and Pete.  The chickens tore the bread from my fingertips, the hamster enjoyed pancakes, and  grandpa Tuttle continues to revel in incontinence of both bladder and bowel, and a cave bed near a warm hearth.

And, on Friday afternoon, I achieved a rare moment.  I surprised Pete with a tale of swell breaking upon our great coast.  Its long been a habit of mine, though not always observed, that I stop at Higgins Beach and look at the waves.  I was greeted as the ocean came into view over the horizon of the street to a lovely image of long green rollers marching gracefully towards me.  And very few surfers were yet out.  Pete and I expeditiously threw on wetsuits, lofted boards onto Vin, and toured Higgins again before deciding to seek the uncrowded quietude that is the hallmark of Scarborough Beach.  With a mostly west wind at our back, we found Scarborough doing what we had hoped to find her doing.  Two surfers were out, one being Dave Kiesel on his new short board.  They say Benjamin Franklin used to throw open the windows in the morning, especially in winter, and bathe in the cold air.  He believed that it had positive effects on one’s constitution.  I feel the same about 43 degree F saltwater.  The sun quickly met the horizon of stalwart pines, but in its final rays I found a wave that I could keep.

Pete had many graceful transits on his new longboard.  He really likes her.  I reflected as I sat firmly astride Fireball, how thankful I am that I sent her back from Australia.  I really like her too.  A good wave is similar in philosophy to fresh powder.  Then we all went out for sushi at Coy.  The sea provides so much…

After errands the next day, I zipped over to Massacre Ponds where Pete and Dave were skating.  The ice was good and I had fun just wandering on it in my boots watching them slap the puck around.  Then, I wandered torwards to the beach.  The waves were very audible inland as the winds were now onshore.  I’ve always admired the dark silhouettes walking the shoreline of Scarborough beach as we sat out in the water with eyes for the horizon, wave-hungry.  It had been on my local bucket list for awhile to take a good walk down to The Box and back, to be one of those silhouettes.  The waves were sadly diminished; the magic of the previous day spent, but the beach was lovely in the afternoon winter light and SE breeze.

A fine walk north on Scarborough beach, ME

A fine walk north on Scarborough beach, ME

Massacre Pond illuminated by a westering sun

Massacre Pond illuminated by a westering sun

After such a great weekend of simple things and time with friends and chickens and a kickass Superbowl party(Thanks Ryan and Danielle and Sam and Jalepeno Poppers and New Orleans power failure), I engaged the I’s(I-295 and I-95) for another journey back to my solitary existence in Hermon, ME.  I was excited to see these waiting for me.

Couch, 2nd delivery, at last!

Couch in tower form, 2nd delivery at last!

After an afternoon of assembly, I can now sprawl amongst cushions and surgical texts and cello concertos; the way such things are meant to be.

Hermon Mt Trail Map

Hermon Mt Trail Map

Today, I awoke to the soft whisper of falling snow.  As I skyped with Jenna and wished her well on her Australian farewell, I decided that today would be the day be a good neighbor and go and meet Hermon Mt.  Late morning, when I checked the webcam, I glimpsed sunny skies and the equanimity of well-groomed corduroy.  Not long after I turned out of my street on to US-2/100, I could see the white eminence of Mt Hermon in a near distance contrasted against the grey tree-line.  Fifteen minutes of country roads later, I was there, the second car in the snowy parking lot.  And like I expected, it is another of Maine’s treasures.  In a simply green lodge I found two sweet middle-aged ladies with faces that have seen a few icy north winds, chatting about the upcoming storm.  I love that people love winter around here and despise snowlessness(newly coined word; I’ll take credit).  The lady who sold me my ticket said that they were calling for 2 inches or maybe 2 feet and they both mockingly jested about how they’d like to be weatherwomen because accuracy doesn’t matter.  I bought a $20 ticket, what they call half-day at Mt. Hermon.  The brilliance of this place is that it is only open from 3 PM to 9 PM on weekdays.  On a weekday, a half-day ticket is from 3-7 PM and full-day is obviously from 3-9 PM.  The lodge was empty at this time, just me and the hale-appearing gentleman I parked next to who looks to be in his late 70s/early 80s.

The green roof of the Mt. Hermon lodge

The green roof of the Mt. Hermon lodge

The inside essentials

The inside essentials

A look at Scenic(a run)

A look at Scenic(a blue-square run)

First Tracks on Upper Cloud Nine(you have to look closely...)

First Tracks on Upper Cloud Nine(you have to look closely…)

It is a family-owned place.  I heard the son(I think) of the owner a bit aggrieved that the local news station had recently called his dad and asked him how they’re coping with the poor snow conditions and the meaning of it all for their business.  From what I heard, apparently they call every year.  I had short, but great runs among my beloved pines and birches, just the rough but pleasant sound of my board edge cutting corduroy topped with an inch of freshies.  On the lifts, I thought about how stoked I am that my cousins are skiing frequently in Pennsylvania because skiing is such a good thing, a divine connection to the wonder of winter and nature, a harmony to be treasured, a good in its own right.  So fuck off, Punxsutawney Phil.  And bring on that storm!  And more surf… And Japan…

Looking out over Hermon Lake from the top of Mt. Hermon

Looking out over Hermon Lake from the top of Mt. Hermon.  I live just left of the lake, maybe about 3-4 miles as the crow flies.