It has been a fertile time at my Lake Cumberland winter retreat working on my book Nature’s People: The Hog Island story from Mabel Loomis Todd to Audubon. The all-important chapter, ‘Of astronomy & Dickinsons’ was wrapped up in a first draft late last week. Phew. Surely the juiciest of the collection of chapters!
Two chapters to go. Next one up is telling the story of ‘Mavooshen’s men,’ the fellows who, along with Mabel Todd and her daughter, Millicent Bingham, hewed a summer camp out of a section of a wilderness island and created a Maine respite for a family who loved Nature. Writing seems to be on some semblance of a schedule.
Last summer, as you know if you’ve been staying recent with this blog, I was blessed to be able to spend a month at Mrs. Todd’s Camp Mavooshen on Hog Island to work on a couple chapters of my book. As product of that month, I wrote a number of new poems and combined them with new photography and created a little self-published book, A forest of ferns: Reflections on Hog Island. A special thanks to graphic designer Kelly Vogelsong of Dayton for making the lovely little thing happen.
The goal was to print up a couple dozen copies for sale on Hog Island at the Puffin Burrow gift shop. Those copies have been shipped to Maine, with a few other copies available. I plan to send out a few to some folks with deep Hog Island roots, but there might be a few left when all is said and done. If you would like a copy, let me know. Cost would be $13, which would include shipping.
In the meantime, let me share one of the new poems. Enjoy.
Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.
Henry David Thoreau
This island is so beautiful it really makes my heart ache!
Why, it seems to me God's own heaven
can hardly be more perfect.
Mabel Loomis Todd
Rain on the cottage roof,
mid-evening, gray sunset waning,
like thousands of pairs of Natural hands
applauding the return of moisture
given up to a demanding sun,
having ascended into ether
until accumulated weight requires
reunion with a world
where spruce and fern reach into soils
cradled in granite doing all they can
to be all that they are.
‘Heaven,’ thought Thoreau.
Mrs. Todd, too.
23 July 2014
Today’s elder idea: In honor of Valentine’s Day, I offer a line from Paul Laurence Dunbar addressed to his beloved, Alice, before they were married. This one sure works for my Cindy Lou, too.
‘You were the sudden realization of an ideal.’
images: top: Cover shot of A forest of ferns. below: One of the pics from the book.