Yep, some of us do live in the willie-wags of Maine, way up next to the Canadian border in a little town called Amity. Its name means peace and goodwill. I tell folks if they want to find me they have to drive to the edge of the world (the end of Interstate 95), take a right and drive about 15 miles south on Route 1. You turn onto an unmarked dirt road, go about three miles straight into the woods, and turn left; you can't miss us. My favorite place is home.
I live in a small log cabin I built far from the sights and sounds of civilization. The little cabin is made from cedar logs I had cut from the swamp on my 80-acre piece of heaven. My nearest neighbor is two to three miles away by road; but if I cut down through the woods, across the brook, and up over the hill; it is only about a mile. Every morning the birds start singing as the sky begins to lighten and the day receives its good morning kiss from the rising sun. All through the day, the birds sing and flit through the yard. Outside the window by my desk hang the bird feeders and I am blessed with the privilege of sharing an intimate view of their life. Many times when I should be working, I wind up sitting and watching my feathered friends. How many of you have had a Chickadee land on your head in the winter while you fill the feeders or been hummed by a Humming bird while sitting on the porch? Hummys are such tiny delicate looking things and hang like shining jewels in the air as they battle for the choicest spot at the feeder.
I love to watch as the parent birds bring their fledglings to the feeders for the first time. The young sit on the rope perch, flutter their little wings, and chirp for their parents to feed them. The parents will bring a sunflower seed, show the young how to peel the shell off and give the seed to them. Then Mom and Pop hop back on the feeder and call for the youngster to join them. One youngster refused to get on the feeder, it chirped and cried for the longest time; it was heart breaking my to hear its plaintive cries. Nevertheless, Mom and Pop know best; after giving the little one a few pieces of seed they refused to give it anymore. The small brown fledgling's cries kept me distracted from my work all afternoon. It finally got the message late in afternoon and hopped onto the feeder. Much to its dismay, it slipped and slid off the plastic perch and began to fall to the ground. A quick flick of its wings and it was back, landing more carefully on the perch this time. Such family scenes are a delight to my eye and feed my inquisitive mind. I am always watching for new and unusual birds to come for a visit and eagerly look up any new species in the books that are kept right beside the window for quick reference.
In the heat of the summer day, I lie in the hammock under the shade of the tall fir trees. Swaying gently in the cooling breeze, I eagerly read the latest Dean Koontz novel. Sometimes becoming so engrossed in the story I don't notice the squirrel on the picnic table raiding my peanut supply. His shiny black eyes never leave my swinging form as he sits and greedily stuffs his cheek pockets until they are fat and full. Then he races up the tree and off to the nest he is preparing for winter. Still intent on the story I do not even notice his return. As I swat a humming mosquito away, he flees again up the tree. Hanging from a lower branch he carefully watches me, awaiting his next opportunity while I chew tensely on a fingernail and hope the hero will survive his latest adventure. The woods around me are teeming with life and sound, but I am too far into the story to notice the hammering of the woodpeckers on the half dead cherry tree that leans over the driveway. We will have to take it down before winter covers it with ice and snow, and then it will keep us warm during the long cold nights.
Winter is a special joy in itself. I love getting up early before anyone else is up and long before dawn's first light. I go down cellar and stoke the ashes hoping to see some glowing red coals left from last nights logs. I get the fire flaming up and come back upstairs. The teakettle pipes billowing clouds of steam throughout the kitchen. I grab my favorite cup from the cupboard and fill it up. I settle myself the easy chair I keep in the kitchen by the window and wrap my fingers around the coffee cup to warm them. Since it is still chilly, I pull the brightly colored patchwork afghan Mother made for me long ago down across my lap and tuck my toes under the big black dog lying on the floor in front of me; her body heat warms soon my cold toes. Osee, the black cat, curls up in my lap and Tuffy, the soft gold and white one, perches himself on the back of the chair softly purring me a tune. Now we wait. There is something very special about the time just before the dawn. As we keep our watch as the sky begins to lighten. Shadowy details begin to emerge, and one can imagine all kinds of things are out there waiting in the early morning gloom. Suddenly brilliant streaks of orange and pink split the sky and light the trees with a golden hue. I can now see a sliver of the sun as it begins its daylong journey in the deep blue sky. As it rises it bathes my face with its warm light, and the birds begin to come to the feeder. What a wonderful way to start the day.
Home is my favorite place of all. It is here that I am surrounded by all the things that show who I am. Art and crafts of my own design spread over the walls, windows, and doors; lush green plants on the windowsills seem to jostle each other for position in the sun. I can throw open the top of the Dutch door in the kitchen and let the lingering perfume of the last blooming flowers of summer waft in on a gentle breeze. Occasionally a songbird perches on the ledge of the bottom half and fills my kitchen with song sweeter than any human can make. My human form lives indoors, but my soul belongs in the woods where it can fly in the azure sky on the wings of a glistening black crow or run down the narrow twisting path through the deep dark forest with the fleet footed deer. I can sit on my back porch listening to the plaintive whoo whoo of the owls in the hollow as dusk begins to darken our world and simply rest. No doubt about it, home is best.
Written by Debra Cone