Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Awesomest Image(s) du Jour LXIII

Happy 191st Birthday, Maine!

Maine became the United States' 23rd State on this day in 1820, as a result of the Missouri Compromise.  Up until then, it had been known as the District of Maine, officially a part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

My mother's direct paternal line has been there since at least 1660...and in the same town (Auburn) since 1799.  I'm the first of that line to have been born "away" (New York).

But we did return, and I grew up there...graduating from the same high school as my mother, grandfather and great-grandfather.  I hated being there as a teenager, but I love coming back now for visits.  There's a weather-worn quality to the place that I once thought was simply shabby.  I now understand that it's a hard-fought patina, well-earned and under-appreciated by our modern society that designs and expects planned-obsolescence.

I'll be travelling there at the end of next week for a funeral; and, though the occassion is sad, I cannot say that I'm not happy to have even this excuse to sneak in a quick visit.  The lady whose life we'll be celebrating, like me, was born "away" (Massachusetts), but her life was always connected to Maine, and she spent the majority of her life as a permanent resident.  To me, she represented the best parts of the place:  a quintessentially Yankee brew of independence and interdependence, frugality and hospitality, simple approaches to complex challenges like climate and terrain, pragmatism, joyful exuberance and a great sense of humor.

It'll be good to be back.

[Image source:  Wikipedia.]