Today was NOT the third productive Sunday in a row. It might have been had it not been really hot here today. Really hot is 90′ in May. We don’t like that here. We like 60′. 90′ is just too much. I was up really early (5am) and was out mowing the lawn at 5:30am. Don’t think me a hero, it was cool then, and I knew it would only get hotter as the day progressed. I was down for a nap at 7:30am to make up for it. So that was really all I got done today that was in any way productive around my house/yard. And at that I did not get the whole lawn mowed. The whole lawn never gets mowed. I just do a different chunk every time I do it.
Instead of doing more productive things, we went for a picnic lunch. In Madison there is a park by the river that is dedicated to Father Sebastian Rasle (or Rasel, or Rale, depending on what you read). Wikipedia gives some information about him. There are other sites too if you do a google search.
Basically this Jesuit monk in the late 1600’s comes to the Madison/Norrigewock area to do missionary work with the Abnaki Indians. From what I have learned about him, I think that they did more converting of him than he did of them. He was working on a dictionary of their language as well.
This park is on land that is sacred ground to the Wabnaki (or Abnaki, or Abanaki) peoples, where they had homes and communities for thousands of years. This park has been greatly improved since the last time we were there. A year or two ago it was still a park, with a sense of reverence beside the river that you could just feel when you were there. Today, there were several granite monuments with engravings about the area, and many new granite picnic tables, with accompanying fireplaces, at which (I would assume) park rangers had built up piles of dead branches for use in the firepits. The overall feeling was that of encouraging people to use and enjoy the space.
We have been here a few times, but I think that it is one that we do not often think of when we are looking for a nice place to go outside.
This is the monument–in another park it might be a plaque, but the granite gives it such a permanent feeling–is at one of the entrances to the area. If you cannot read these monuments in this post, click on the photo and a bigger photo should appear. They are easier to read that way.
I am really impressed that the Town of Madison has done this. Madison is not really a town that you want to spend time in if you don’t have too. It is a nice little town, but there really isn’t much there, other than the bigger grocery store, and a few small stores. Not cute shops, not a town you would get out of your car and walk around in, but one that you go to to do a few errands, then home again. I think Madison used to be a much more thriving town than it is now. There is a paper mill in the center of town, which used to support so many families, but now there is not really much going on there.
[Click on these photos to read them better]
What I love about the writing above is the mention of how Benedict Arnold lead his men through this area on his way to Quebec, and was doing a horrible job of it, when in this same area the Abnakis had been living off this land for thousands of years. Poor ol’ Ben never had a chance, and really didn’t have the good sense to ask the locals for help. Instead they carried their big batteaus (not canoes or kayaks as would be better suited to our rocky SHALLOW rivers, nope, not Ben. BATTEAUS–big clunky heavy wooden boats that take several men to carry. Big Dope. Carried them up the rivers and over the land between the rivers. With not much to eat and black flies and mosquitoes the size of geese. Poor Ben. Anyway….thats another story for another day.
Now this seems like an odd combination, but I worked on a project while I was there. The project has nothing to do with the park, but when we set out this morning we did not know where we were going, so it was ostensibly just something to do in the car.
Remember these loom-loopers from when you were a kid? I found two of them at the Carrabassett Thrift store. here
Without the stretchy loops I haven’t used them. And I refuse to buy a bag of loops for $5. I am just too cheap for that. But recently I saw or read or heard something where you can use cut up old socks to use in place of the loops. Brilliant. Who doesn’t have a sock collection of single socks?
Cut your sock into strips, about 1/2 inch wide.
Lay them out on the loom….you all know how to do this. I don’t need to explain.
This picture [below] makes this sock monkey pot holder look great. Bit of trick photography. It is really the funniest shape that has no resemblance to a square. I think due to the fact that the sock monkey sock and the white sock were so completely different in fabric density and size. It is actually bell shape, or tulip shaped. Ug said it had nothing to do with that, but that the sock monkey sock didn’t like being cut up and used for a pot holder. He’s probably right. Monkeys will win every time.
When we were leaving the park I saw this:
A lady slipper flower. I haven’t seen one of these in a long time. They are protected here in Maine now. When I was a kid they were everywhere, but that was at least 150 years ago. Now they are rare.
This could only have been nicer if it had not been 90′. Here in the foothills of the Western Maine mountains, we do not like that. We do not like to be sticky. And we do not like to be sticky in May.
Oh…..I would like to give away the extra loom-looper loom. If anyone would like it, leave me a comment below, or e mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will mail it to you. It would be fun for someone with kids, or like me, someone without kids and you can have your own fun with it. I’m having fun with mine.