Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I grew up on a 150 acre farmstead my father had converted to an American Plan summer resort on the shore of 9 mile long lake (Long Lake) connected by the very short Chute River to another lake (Brandy Pond) which was connected by the Songo River to Sebago Lake which was connected by yet another river to Casco Bay and the Atlantic. My wife and I were married by a gazebo near the shore of Long Lake at her grandmother's summer home. Since that event we have lived, among other places, on the shore of that lake and three others in Maine. I had intended, in this post, to say something rude about the ever increasingly intrusive digital technology which so clearly proves again that invention is the mother of necessities, but when you live, as we have, and as we do now, with a lake, the day of ice out is just too important to ignore. As Thoreau might say, the lake or pond is earth's eye and it's open again to view the heavens.
In the thirties when I was growing up by Long Lake we got our news from evening radio commentators. I remember especially H. V. Karltenborn (he came first, I think) and then Lowell Thomas (sponsored by Seth Thomas Clocks) and every spring (I am sure it was Karltenborn's measured voice) would announce to the national audience that the ice was out of Lake Sebago. Would that we were blessed with such announcements on the evening news. 
I'll add a poem (publish here) a poem anticipating ice out — and could sign off as Lowell Thomas did — with "So long until tomorrow" but it will be at least a week.

Spring Became Official At 4:39 AM,
    The Earliest Advent Since 1847

Winter's had it. The red-wing blackbirds
are replacing red-polls at the feeder.

The first pair of golden-eyes bob and shine
like newly pained buoys in the open narrows

where the secret current that flows from
upper to middle pond licks the softening ice

into submission and spring slowly opens
its wet legs beyond the outlet bridge.

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