Tuesday, August 4, 2015
I awoke to the pink glow of sunrise behind the mountains; now the sun is almost up. We are in Surry, Maine, my sister and I, in a cabin hosted by an odd bird, a New Yorker who has lived here on this former farm for 30 years. The cabin we are in contains a piano and various musical instruments- he made his living as a music therapist before the economy went bust in 2008 and now has tapped into the “sharing economy” by hosting paying guests. The property also has a barn which has been transformed into a performance space complete with old wooden red-upholstered theatre seats, where tonight we will go to hear some music he has arranged- a singer and pianist I believe he said. Our host is indeed an odd bird who does not bother with niceties. For instance, when I asked him via phone as we approached town what the address was and how to get here he berated me for not knowing it, instead of simply telling me. Or, upon meeting him for the first time, he demanded to know who we were: “So who is who?”, instead of introducing himself first. Also, he admits he is the last person who should be living on an old farm with seven old buildings, as he is totally inept when it comes to things practical and mechanical, as has already been amply demonstrated (doors that do not close, electricity that does not work). He says the men around here know all those things and he hires them for that knowledge. But this lack of everyday niceties and practicalities is compensated by the sight of a doe and two fawns grazing at the edges of the yard this morning, and the proximity of forest and ocean, cool air.
The towns we have driven through in this part of Maine near the coast all have libraries and music- the sense is that of a culture that still values introspection, critical thinking, quiet, minding one’s own business, as opposed to the mass culture where everything is displayed to excite the senses and the emotions before it has been filtered through reason.