Tuesday, feeling antsy for Spring and anxious to celebrate the melting of the snow I decide to climb Blue Hill. The authorized trails up Blue Hill ascend on the south side, which is a good thing because there’s still plenty of winter hanging around, especially when you gain a little elevation. Blustery tendrils of north wind whip around to the sunny side, where I am, and though I might wish for it, the weather isn’t going to let this hike be a casual affair. Not yet.
I’m carrying my camera, but am not too optimistic about the colors. The vegetation this time of year is rather peaked, like an albino form of life that lives too long out of the sun. I myself have lived under the shadow of this mountain for 36 years, and I realize, while pausing for breath, I have grown a little peaked myself.
I start thinking how my life has been lived out on this landscape the stretches away for miles and miles. Tucked close in under the lower slopes is the town, where so much daily routine unfolds. Post office, library, building supplies, groceries, bookstore. East of town are the fairgrounds, the baseball fields, the snowy mountains of Mt Desert. Away to the south are the hills of Isle au Haut, where I managed many construction projects over the years, and just west of those hills, across a mile of Jericho Bay I can’t see from here the Spoon Islands are silhouetted against the distant Gulf of Maine.
Just down from the summit of Blue Hill, but standing tall above it, is the communications tower. I’ve been around a few years longer than the tower, but I barely remember the mountain with no tower. Our internet connection travels from the house, five miles north, to this tower, and then goes out to the wide world from here. It’s an odd feeling. To name just one item, the book I recently published streamed in and out of this tower many times. The book atoms, I guess that’s how you’d say it, have flown back and forth through space many miles. The tower dominates the mountain in a strange way, and I find it’s hard to focus on much else with that thing standing over my shoulder.
Further on is the site of the fire tower. The former fire tower I should say. A few years back the town in it’s infinite wisdom cut it down, felled it like it was just another tree. Too much of a liability they said. And a little further on to the north is the site of the former forest service cabin, burned down by some of our village idiots some time ago. An adjacent tree is still black .Pools of old snow hang around on the ledges. It’s not winter anymore, and it’s not spring either, but something in between.