"Rest and be Thankful"
The garage where I get my old truck’s mechanical bloopers fixed, studded tires installed and oil changed is located in the heart of a small Maine town that shares it’s northern border with Canada. Fort Kent is nicknamed “The Little Town that Could”, and I discovered this special place while racing my dog team in the CanAm Crown Sled Dog Races waaay back in the 1990’s, eventually moving here ten years ago. But it’s horse power and a string of old vehicles that brings me so frequently to this service station. I’ve practically written entire Harlequins sitting on this rock hard bench in what is a very noisy (and macho) gathering place. Once upon a time, my presence here put an instant damper on the conversations, but now Acadian patois booms around me in surround sound as I share cramped space with stacks of truck tires, vehicle batteries and the regular crowd at Twin’s. This is what comes of being a frequent visitor, and also what comes of me not understanding much French aside from “Merci” (despite taking two years of it in high school). So why am I so thankful to be resting here on a hard bench with a folded up UHaul quilted furniture pad for a cushion, writing this blog entry for Heartwarming while my winter tires get put on? Because when people ask me what the hardest part of writing is, I have to say, it’s finding the time. And here in this noisy garage in the heart of Fort Kent, Maine, I always do.
|My pups finishing the CanAm Crown Sled Dog Race in Fort Kent Maine|
Incidentally, I love reading all the Heartwarming blogs. Living off grid in the north Maine woods, this is the first time I’ve had any real contact with other writers. For many years I didn't even have internet. Sometimes there's just no time to read the blog entries the week they’re posted, or even comment, and this fills me with guilt. We all have busy lives. With twenty six sled dogs and a passel of other animals as well (dairy goats, laying hens, a draft horse and three kitties), there’s just no end to chores. Getting the winter firewood in in early summer and fall, filling the barn with hay in July, harvest time in the garden, gathering and canning up all the garden produce to fill the pantry and root cellar before snow flies, all these seasonal rituals must be observed in a timely fashion, but when the leaves change and the weather cools, my sled dogs know it’s time to get back out on the trail. Three mile runs bump up rapidly to ten miles, and multiple teams can mean being out on the trail for hours. (We love this, by the way. It’s what my dogs and I live for.) These short days pass in the blink of an eye and pretty soon it’s chore time again, the horse is clamoring for his oats, the goats need to be fed and milked. After evening chores are done, my pack of retired sled dogs is waiting for their one mile walk around the upper loop, and by the time we return home, it’s dark. Time to get supper and squeeze some writing in while waiting for it to cook. It often feels as if this time spent writing is being stolen from all my other duties and responsibilities, including the four days out of every ten that I work at the family business, and look after my mom, who has Alzheimers. Upside down and backwards. Does your life sometimes feel like that, too?
|Me and my pal Dan|
My mom could work me under the table any day of the week, but in her later years she began to counsel me to find the time to “rest and be thankful”. I'm sure going to try. As we approach the season of thanks and giving, may you all share the love of friends and family. Rest and be thankful.