Friday, May 14, 2010

Maine remaining bits of day one, day two, and the beginning of day 3

Truth be told, it's really the morning of my third day in Gardiner, Maine so this post will be covering day two and catching up a bit on day one. If you find that confusing, be thankful that I'm not trying to give your directions. I really did try to compose an entry for this blog early this morning while enjoying a cup of coffee on the corner at the end of the block at a place called A1 To Go, but I forgot to bring my power cord with me and this work horse of a laptop wasn’t keeping enough juice in it do keep up with my thoughts so I passed opting rather to update now.

Thursday was somewhat of a zen day in the “one hand clapping” sense as I was busy – yet not busy – at the same time. Or, perhaps, it would be more fair to say that while we were busy hanging the show, it was enjoyable, so it didn't seem like work.

The day started beautifully with a pristine azure sky and bright  sunshine. I stood quietly by the window and looked out upon the morning as the sun rose in the horizon. I could tell that even though the sun was abundant, the morning air was cold as I could see relatively heavy frost on the windshields on some of the autos in the parking lot directly behind the gallery, and sinewy clouds of steam hovering over the small river/massive stream that boundaries the same parking lot.

Much to my surprise, I saw a stout man in shorts and sandals fly fishing in the the same body of water. He seemed totally impervious to the cold - which I found amazing - and certainly something only a Maine native could be capable of. I kept watching him through the window as I brushed my teeth and I found his movements with the reel and the casting of the fly slightly mesmerizering. For a moment, I became lost in it. These thoughts were tempered though by my sheer amazement at this chap's ability to be standing by the edge of the water in 34 degrees wearing shorts, sandals, a sweatshirt and fishing vest. The trance ended just as quickly as it came about however when thoughts of locating a tumbler of morning coffee took control. . .

It wasn't long after a quick shower and a shave that I put on a few extra layers, grabbed my digital camera that I headed up the street to the coffee shop that I knew from reading the sign before opened at 7 AM. I had also read that they had free Wi-Fi. It seemed like the perfect morning retreat for this very early riser.

As I walked out the door of the building where I am staying, I was greeted with an gentle breeze that was scented by a lilac bush somewhere. The scent was delicious and sadly, it dissipated as easily as it had come upon me. As it was still rather early, the street was very quite save for the passing of a handful of locals on their way to their respective 9 to 5s. It gave me the perfect opportunity to snap some quick pics without having to deal with traffic and litter. . .

Here is the Mad Dog Pub which has in the span of only 36 hours has become one of my favorite places to hang out. It helps that it happens to be literally right next door to the gallery. It's really everything a great pub should be with a robust, red decor, friendly and witty staff (i.e. - Rebecca the bartender ) and wonderful food and drinks. I've met some great folks there as well - such as the Amy and Michele (twins), a really interesting drummer named Ginger (with whom I shared a "small world" moment via mutual connections to Nashville), and a friendly retired ranger who goes by the name of Buck.

The earlier mentioned "stream" is photographed here - though I now know from a brochure that I picked up that this is feed by the Kennebec River. On the map, it is simply listed as "stream". It runs directly behind the parking lot, behind the gallery, and it lives there as if a jewel on the street.

Of course, it has a history of flooding and I've seen a few of those posts about where historic high water marks have been painted and have heard tales of flooding of the past. This is one of the the unfortunate events that will inevitability occur though to towns built on the edges of stream-rivers. Occasionally, the waters rise. . .

Yesterday - the focus was for the most part - all about hanging the show and getting inventory into the computer system. I hung the show, Clare did the computer work, and Peter helped install some more lights. But one of my personal highlights of the day was when all three of us worked together to hang the sign out front of the gallery.

The sign, which was literally created over the original hanging sign from the building's previous incarnations, is rather heavy and it took all three of us plus the ladders to host it in the air, and over our heads to be bolted into place. I think it looks wonderful if I do say so myself ( I designed the logo) - but more than that, I can say that I had a helping hand in hanging that sign. There's something comforting about that - perhaps it's like smashing a bottle of champagne over the bow of a ship.

There is still much to get done today before the "soft" opening at 5 for the 1st Friday Gallery Walk here in Gardiner. I'll also be giving an artist talk to a group of Middle and High school students and I need to ponder what I want to focus on in the talk. Frankly, there are many different avenues worthy of discussion but I will only select a few and see how it develops. There's also several small items left to purchase and a few preparatory details that need to be addressed before the event.

Suddenly, I feel the clock ticking and realize that I need to step away from the keyboard and out of this bakery that charges full price for refills on coffee even though I purchased coffee at $1.90 (mediocre) and a chocolate croissant ( even more mediocre) just 35 minutes prior. By the way, it's not A-1 to Go, which I think I will frequent during the rest of my stay. . .

So - on that note - let me close with a random list of new things that I have learned so far since my arrival -
  • While Maine is known for such grandiose seaside vacation spots such as Kennebunkport and  Campobello, the state overall is financially depressed and many of the locals have lifes very different from those whom can afford to visit such places ( i.e. - "Dolores Clariborne" )
  • General Benidict Arnold led his regiment into battle not far from here before he decided to switch teams so to speak
  • Lobster is still expensive, even in Maine
  • People here really are more accustomed to the cold and seem to be able to get sunburned in the slightest bit of sun
  • There is a local beer I like that begins with the letter P with a name that I couldn't pronounce properly until I had had more than one. . .
  • People from the state over who drive badly and/or rudely are referred to as "Massholes".
  • Portland is supposedly a very hip town. . .
  • Only three types of trees grown in Maine  - though I'm not sure about the validity of that. . .
  • There are no naturally occurring poisonous snakes in the state of Maine.
Well - much to do now, so on with the show. More to come.

No comments: