Saturday, April 21, 2012

Leg 66, around lane island beginning and ending at the Bridge.

I've had no need for my bike during these last several walks as I've begun and ended where I started. Lane Island was my home for a few years back in the 50's and so memory, often poignancy, was a constant companion during this, my walk around the last of the four islands bridged to Vinalhaven. I hiked along the Indian Creek Channel and around Hen Island. During the late 1800's and early 1900's my great great grandmother lived in a house directly across the way, under Armbrust Hill and she kept chickens on this island. I don't know why this was an advantageous place to keep them. It's not as if they were safe here since the island is easily reachable from the Lane Island shore for several hours around low tide. Still my Great Grandmother told me about being sent over to harvest eggs.
Around the point and heading south up the Creek I came upon the old Bickford Lobster Pound and walked across the mouth of the cove on the dam's rock base, under the remains of the wooden walkway, over the narrow sluiceway and on to the other side. When I was a kid I hung out here a lot, not out here at the dam but with a friend whose home was the little house on the north side of the Pound. His father was the Pound Keeper. Once, while standing at the kitchen sink during a thunderstorm he'd been struck by lightening that travelled down through the plumbing and out through the faucet. I don't recall that he suffered much as a result but it was certainly a memorable experience. I walked on and crossed a second pound in the same fashion. This one hadn't been here when I was growing up on the Island. I actually had no idea it was here until this day. I rounded the point and into the little cove where most of those enjoying the Lane Island Nature Conservancy choose to picnic. There's a tiny bit of sand beach here and between it and the little Lane Cemetery are a couple of picnic tables. It's a beautiful spot and from here I could look up at the house we rented from island poet Harold Vinal, our fourth rental.
I walked on around the island. At its southern most extremity I walked out as far as I could and was surprised to discover I could not see Heron Neck Lighthouse on the southeasternmost point of Green's Island. I know I could see it from here when I was a kid. It must be that trees have grown up around it in such a way as to render it no long visible from here. Continuing on around the Island, I looked up again and again to see Rockaway high above me. Rockaway was an Inn run by an island couple in the 40's and 50's and during the time when we lived next door. I remember their guests sitting out in the sun in lounge chairs enjoying the sun and the view. I walked on and around Potato Island. I'd thought I could reach Powder House Island as well but the channel between the two is too deep and I couldn't have managed, even at an extreme low tide. I looked across the harbor at the village from a perspective I'd never enjoyed then returned to the Bridge. Along the way I passed a big assembly of laid up granite stone, similar to those found all around the island, a construction that made it possibe for fishermen to reach the water at even the lowest tides by building a dock from land to the stone and then accessing the water via a float or ladder, most often the latter. This one was used by the father of some kids who lived next door and were playmates.
Next walk, round Carver's Pond

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Leg 65 From Indian Creek, just opposited the Lanes Island lobster Pound, across the bridge, around Indian Creek, back out and on to the Lanes Island Bridge. This walk required tramping across backyards and in some cases I wasn't comfortable, felt too much like an intruder and so skirted those properties. Except for a little stretch around the east side of Armbrust Hill, the entire walk was through residential areas. I figure I've got six walks left till I get back to where I started and parts or all except the next one (Lanes Island) will be in and around residential areas so photography will be selective and discreet. From the Indian Creek Bridge I looked across the Creek to the little house at the head of the cove where so many of my own memories rest comfortably.
When I was about 12 we moved into 'The Bucket', short for 'The Bucket of Blood'. This authentic little cape was supposedly the sight of a terrible death in the previous century. I heard so many stories of how that came to be I don't know what to believe. The Bucket was our fifth and last island rental since moving back to the island in 1948. We were hard pressed to find a place to live and so couldn't be too selective. My mother's way of dealing with her children's unavoidable (everyone talked about it all the time) awareness that they were living in a house where such an awful thing occurred was to attribute the many odd noises we heard every night to a ghost, a friendly ghost, and to name him Uncle Tim. Uncle Tim joined us some nights for dinner, coming stealthly down the attic stairs right next to the kitchen table, opening the thumb latched door and settling himself on the bottom step. We couldn't see him and he usually didn't say anything but his presence was unmistakable. Ultimately he followed us to our next home, the Moses Webster House and became a memorable presence there.
I walked around the east shore of the Creek then turned west and , in a few minutes, was standing in the 'Bucket's' back yard. Behind me, a hundred feet or so out in the water, stood the'Johnny Boulder', a big rock we named thus for reason's that escape me but which was our destination during cold water dares and upon which I liked to strand my little brother, who couldn't swim yet, as the tide came in and surrounded it.
Now I could look west to the little firth that crept up into Frog Hollow and above that, lording over everything, was the Moses Webster House, our final home, one we finally purchased (for $6000) around 1958. It was in rough shape, wet, moldy and in need of every imaginable repair but it was a castle to us, four boys each with his own room. We stayed here until all the boys were up, grown and gone. Matt was an infant so it was about 18 years before my folks had the place to themselves and by then it was way too big for them and so they moved on to another enormous reclamation elsewhere on the island. When they left, though, the place had been completely restored by my father. Here in the Moses Webster House are our freshest memories, we four brothers, and they could and perhaps will fill a volume. Suffice for now that Uncle Tim followed us here from the Bucket and put in some memorable appearances. Surely his presence on the night the Masonic Hall burned was the most significant and was chronicled in a New York Times story my mother wrote wrote.
I turned east then south and skirted the Armbrose Hill Preserve, climbing up, when I could no longer get along the quarry rubble at the shoreline, to the trees about 50 feet above the water. Here in this acre or so of Spruce I constructed a tree house with friends and had a major confrontation with my mother who insisted on coming to see what we were doing and how far aloft she feared we were dangling.
Next leg, 66, around Lanes Island.