"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.
Thanks so much for sharing some of your life with us. I think Fort Kent is a place many of us in Maine passed through, but didn't stick around long enough to see it the way you do. I wish you and your mother the best and stay warm. I'm looking forward to your winter blogs so I can vicariously enjoy your adventures.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Virginia. It was three below zero this morning!Delete
What an amazing place to live. With that schedule, I don't know how you have the time to write at all! I love the reminder to rest and be thankful. Happy Thanksgiving!ReplyDelete
Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, LeAnne!Delete
Nadia, I remember your first book (I think it was your first) for Super Romance about the big Alaskan dog race. I probably can't spell it, so won't try. Loved the story. Love that you love what you do and where you live. That is a life well-lived. Happy Thanksgiving.ReplyDelete
Wow, you have a great memory, I'm so flattered that you remembered that story. Across A Thousand Miles was published in 2002, it's about the Yukon Quest Sled Dog Race. Happy Thanksgiving!Delete
There's so much I relate to in this. I too have problems finding time to write, and when I do, feel guilty. My dad has Alzheimer's. And when we're on the boat, internet is often missing and sketchy, so I can't post here as often as I should. Externally our circumstances are quite different, but in many ways we're alike. For me, it's trips to the laundromat where I find time to write guilt free while the clothes swirl around in the washer. Happy Thanksgiving to all you Americans (y'all are late you know, right? We celebrate in October.)ReplyDelete
Kim! Yes, the guilt part is crazy. I'm so sorry about your dad, I know how difficult it is with my mom. And yes, we're VERY late with Thanksgiving here in the states, October is month, the harvest month, when it should be celebrated, not when the temps are three below zero and the ground is covered with snow! Keep writing!Delete
Your life is fascinating, and I love the way you use a necessary interuption to write and enjoy. How do you get internet? Satallite? Your mother sounds like a very wise woman. Rest and be thankful, indeed.ReplyDelete
Beth, this old sheep farm is seven miles removed from phone lines and electricity BUT the former owners had a young child, so the town decided they couldn't live here without a phone line. Believe it or not, they buried one all the way up to the top of Bossy Mountain to keep that child safe. I'm very thankful for that phone line and the internet. Happy Thanksgiving!Delete
I’m not going to complain about being busy or overworked ever again, Nadia, after reading this post. Thanks so,much for this snapshot of,your life and all the best to you and your family.ReplyDelete
Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Janice!Delete
I love your posts! Happy Thanksgiving, Nadia, and thanks for inviting us into your life.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Liz, and I hope you're having a wonderful Thanksgiving!ReplyDelete
Sounds like you deserve a day off!ReplyDelete