Saturday, December 3, 2011

This is the view from a small bridge in Blue Hill, Maine. There are usually a ton of ducks paddling around here, very fun to watch. I love where I'm from. This was the view I had every time I strolled through town. If you look closely, you may be able to see a rock island out in the bay. That is the island that my grandmother and grandfather, mother and father, and my brother and I have all leaped into the Atlantic ocean from. That is something of a tradition in our family, and each time I go back to that rock, and stand in the place where the old diving board used to be, I'm instantly brought back to a time when nothing else mattered, except the rush of cool salt water splashing your face as you slipped beneath the waves.

 And this is what that tiny bridge looks like from the town boat wharf, on Thanksgiving morning. I love the way very little changes in this spot throughout the seasons. You can even see the ducks mulling about, searching for what tiny insects may have been unfortunate enough to get caught in the overnight frost. This will always be one of my most favorite places to stand and do nothing but look.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Ahh, Maine. Such character, such uniqueness! This, my friends, is a Skillet Toss. It occurs annually at the Blue Hill Fair, in my home town of Blue Hill. This past September was the second year that I entered, along with my mother. Last year, I signed my mother up without her knowing, and practically had to drag her to the line of participants waiting their turn to toss a heavy, cast iron skillet as far as they could, without straying too far from a tape measure laid out straight in front of them. You are judged on distance as well as accuracy. Well, low and behold, my mum's softball arm paid off, and she swept the competition (myself included) under the rug and took home the cash prize. That ought to teach her to trust me more often.

So, this year when the contest rolled around, my mum and I made our way to the sign up, both voluntarily this time, and waited patiently in line. My class consisted of younger ladies, while my mothers class had the middle aged women. Now, you have to understand that there is always this one girl who comes every year, and wins every year in my class. I dislike this greatly. I told myself that I had to out toss her, I just had to. So, when my turn came, I aimed, swung, and chucked that skillet with the precision of a trained bowman. I beat her. And not only did I beat her, I out tossed most of the other women in my category, and was automatically put into the finals, where I would compete with a few others for three age class "Skillet Toss Champion" titles.

When the more "experienced" ladies were done tossing, the women who were moved into the finals with me looked rough. Real rough. These are Maine women, and Maine women do not mess around. I got a bit nervous, but I didn't let the competition shake me. I walked coolly up to the line, pulled my arm back, and sent that puppy flying down the line. A perfect throw. It even went farther than my first! Next up, the oldies but goodies. My mother by now had been out tossed and was eliminated. I knew that I had to take the prize, make her proud. Once the dust settled (literally, it was on a dirt horse racing track), three women remained to claim the titles. Myself for the youngest class, a very sweet mother of 4 for the middle class, and the cutest, fiercest old lady for the "experienced" class. We lined up together with our prizes and took a group photo. I like the one of myself and the old lady the best. We were spectacular. If you ever have the chance to participate in a skillet toss, do it. It will be some of the most fun you will ever have.

Monday, November 28, 2011

The Boot. This was taken outside the L.L.Bean flagship store in Freeport, Maine. If you have never heard of L.L.Bean, that's sad. You should remedy the situation immediately. For those of you that have, I trust that you know the history of Bean Boots. The Maine Hunting Shoe has roots tied to the Maine woods dating back to 1912, nearly 100 years. They have been referred to as Gum Boots, Bean Boots, and Bean-ers. Both of my parents grew up wearing them, as did my brother and I. The boots are just as much a part of staying warm as they are a Maine tradition. When you walk through town, you notice people who are wearing Bean Boots. You smile, maybe give them a camaraderie-type nod, and pass by. Bean Boots have become an integral part of my year, serving me well from Halloween through mud season. If you ever have a chance to visit Maine, I recommend making a stop in Freeport, you will most likely need an entire day to truly appreciate all that L.L.Bean's flagship store has to offer.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Welcome To ME

My name is Ari and I am from Maine. I created this blog as a way to share some of the things I love with anyone interested in new experiences. Being from Maine has harbored a deep love of the outdoors in my heart, and a lot of what will grace this blog will be photos of adventures I have experienced, my favorite pieces of gear and some gear reviews, and maybe some science odds and ends, just to keep the intellectual me at peace.

The Maine to document the happenings of a Maine ecologist as they occur. Some posts will be quite dull, while others are likely to bring readers to the edge of their seats (maybe?). You will just have to stay tuned and read between the lines to decipher the goodies from the mundane-ies. Is that a word?