Lake Living Fall 2021

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FREE fall/winter 2021 • vol. 24, no. 2

Finding Center plus

rescue mission home sauna light breaking night show


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editor’s note

fall/winter 2021 • vol. 24, no. 2

Unintended positive consequence. While interviewing Bob Daigle about home saunas for this issue, he used this phrase in relation to the pandemic. It got me thinking that life is full of unintended positive consequences—if we can just see beyond the negative. It’s probably why we humans are so adaptable and maybe even why we’re still here. We can learn from life’s “unfortunate events” how to change some of the things that led to them in order to avoid them in the future. There is, however, one large unfortunate event at the heart of our existence that is seriously challenging our ability to respond quickly enough and that is climate change. Because there are so many consequences to climate change, we find ourselves overwhelmed by the enormity of it. Instead of being activated by the fact that light pollution is contributing to something as unthinkable as the extinction of fireflies, we continue to light up the night skies. And that’s just one contributor and one small-but-mighty casualty. These days it occurs to me that the unintended positive consequence of climate change is that we’re being hit, left and right, with messages that we have to step up. Living as close to nature as we do in Maine gives us an advantage. We’re able to see and experience firsthand the effects we’re having on the climate and find ways to mitigate our own contribution, even with something as simple as our choice of outdoor lighting. We only need to look up. If we hurry, there will continue to be fireflies winking at the stars. Laurie LaMountain Editor & Publisher Laurie LaMountain Staff Writers Leigh Macmillen Hayes, Perri Black Photographers Katie Sox, Julie Whelchel, Kevin Brusie, Leigh Macmillen Hayes, Jeanne Christie, Pam Ward Graphic Designer Dianne Lewis Proofreader/Copy Editor Leigh Macmillen Hayes Lake Living is published quarterly by Almanac Graphics, Inc., 625 Rocky Knoll Rd, Denmark, ME 04022 207-452-8005. lakelivingmaine.com e-mail: lakeliving@fairpoint.net ©2021. All rights reserved. Contents of this magazine may not be reproduced in any manner without written consent from the publisher. Annual subscriptions are available by sending check or money order for $20 to the above address.

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6 finding center

16 light breaking

10 big pine farm

18 forest therapy

12 rescue mission

20 night show

14 the home sauna

22 the bookshelf

by laurie lamountain

by laurie lamountain

by leigh macmillen hayes

by laurie lamountain

cover photo “erin”, 24” x 18”, oil on canvas by ian factor

by laurie lamountain

by leigh macmillen hayes

by leigh macmillen hayes

reviews from bridgton books


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Finding Center

katie sox

by laurie lamountain

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an Factor’s connection to Bridgton extends back to his childhood. His family has a vacation home on Highland Lake where he spent summers in the lake and winter weekends on the slopes of Shawnee Peak. For the school year he was at home in Boston, where he recalls a cursive writing lesson during which he embellished the alphabet with imaginary battle scenes. When the teacher saw what he was doing and took his paper to show to the rest of the class, he was mortified. When she made a point of saving it in a folder with his name on it for future reference he was even more so. Until she told him she was doing so because it was special; that he had created something exceptional. He credits that grade school teacher with recognizing and validating what he had done on a personal level, but also for showing him that it was important to other people because it communicated something to them. “I’ve always been more interested in the narrative aspect of image making. It’s not just a sense of self-expression—and I teach this to my students—there’s a responsibility as an artist, especially a visual artist, to think about and understand on some level what you’re communicating. Because it is communication. It’s visual communication, but it’s communication. That’s always been part of my passion for making images; the ‘what am I saying?’”

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Artists whose work he really admires, Eric Fischl among them, are able to create an incredibly rich narrative without telling you what to think. Creating a balanced narrative in art can be tricky. When he was in undergraduate school, Ian’s illustration courses pushed the subjective narrative. Social issues, including police brutality, the first Gulf war, AIDs, abortion, were subjects for some very dark images that very intentionally conveyed his personal opinion. Years later and in graduate school, the push was toward a less “tyrannical” and more suggestive narrative. It was in swinging back in the opposite direction that he was able to find a point of balance in the center. His narrative art has since evolved to create a dialog within each piece that allows the viewer to form his/her own interpretation. A series he did of the wildfires in Oregon was inspired by back country hikes he made through the areas most affected. Inserting images of a model from life drawing classes he was conducting around the same time lends a provocative note that is left up to the viewer to interpret. “This is a pretty deep and layered conversation I get into with my art students, especially when I teach narrative classes, is there any such thing as true, 100% objectivity in art? It’s all personal. As objective as you try to be, there’s always going to be some emotional content. How you even present the image is subjective,” says Ian. Teaching has always been an essential aspect of Ian’s art. After completing his own education with a BFA from the School of Visual and Performing Arts at Syracuse University and MFA from the New York Academy of Art where he graduated Cum Laude, he taught fine art, illustration and design in universities and academies from New York City to Guangxi, China, for more than 20 years. Most recently, he founded the Bend Academy of Art in Bend, Oregon. Founding and directing the Academy was a pivotal step in Ian’s path as an art educator. He had been teaching art at the university in Bend and was struck by how limited the curriculum was in classical training. Steeped in classical training in anatomy and figure drawing, his focus as an artist was on de-


constructing and reconstructing the human figure on paper and canvas, but also in clay. Bend Academy gave him the autonomy to develop a curriculum based in the classical approach to figurative and illustrative art that encompassed technical narrative. Students could also take advantage of studyabroad workshops, including on a bioorganic farm outside of Sienna, Italy, where Ian had previously taught. As enrollment grew, Bend Academy moved to a non-profit status. It seemed a culminating moment in his teaching career, until real estate in Bend became unaffordable almost overnight. Then, when he finally found a place and was about to sign a long-term lease, COVID hit. Even with students enrolled in courses via Zoom, it became clear to him that Bend, Oregon, wasn’t the right place for his vision. Coincidentally, Judith Evergreen saw it as a pivotal moment to sell the former church building that housed her retail business in Bridgton for forty-five years. Craftworks, a successful retail clothing and homewares store, was the unofficial anchor of Main Street until it officially closed in spring of 2020. In Lake Living summer 2015, we interviewed Judith about her decades-long relationship with the building, from her intention to preserve and reuse it, to her decision to move on: “The building is very special and could be used for other purposes. Retail or restaurant, beyond that I’m not sure . . . Anyone who has been there has been successful. The Catholic congregation left because they outgrew it. I do think there is some karmic stuff with buildings sometimes.” The “other purposes” Judith alluded to could not have been more in line with what motivated her in 1975 to buy what so many others would have seen as a white elephant and of which she admitted, “I think you had to be an artist to see it as a good thing.” Judith has a graduate degree in fine arts from Rutgers University. When Ian returned to New England in the spring of 2020 and saw that Judith had put the building on the market, he saw it as a good thing. The open expanse was not unlike a blank canvas on which he could envision a cultural arts center; a flexible space

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in which he could live, paint, teach, and exhibit his art, as well as house artists-inresidency and hold performances. Designing it as a convertible space that can be as public or private as called for was key to making it work as a multi-use whole. Pocket doors and thoughtful layout make that possible. Since he bought the building, the only brushes he’s had in his hand have been for painting walls, trim and molding. He jokes that he’s either one of two places; there or at Lowe’s. He originally thought the work would be completed and he would be up and running in two months. Four months later, he had the same time line, although it’s worth noting that most of the construction was accomplished by local contractor Dan Perry with Ian as assistant. As with any old building, this one held hidden secrets. They knew in advance that all of the single-glazed, arched windows needed to be replaced with insulated, double-glazed windows, but they didn’t know that all of the frames would have to

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be replaced as well. One large and twelve smaller arches were individually fabricated from five layers of wood, glulamed in wood clamps overnight. Since the twelve smaller ones were not exactly the same size, four different templates were needed to make them. They also didn’t know that all of the sills were rotted and needed replacing. Or that the walls were largely uninsulated. Because the building is at the foot of a sloped area, the basement had to be lined with an impervious membrane to provide a barrier for the near-constant moisture that lurked beneath. Once they addressed the issues, they were able to frame the interior. While the goal was to adapt it for 21st-century residential/commercial use, the intention was to preserve the architectural integrity of the 150-year-old building. Living space at the back, including a master bedroom suite, guest bedroom suite, living room and kitchen, occupy about a third of the space. A staircase leading to a loft area above and beyond the living space was added to

provide storage and event space seating.The back wall was broken through and double doors with arched transom now open onto gardens in the back that are ideal for plein aire painting and drawing classes. A large deck similar to the one on the front of the building is planned for the back. In addition to classes, Factor Fine Art Center for the Arts plans to offer multi-day workshops, visiting artist workshops, film screenings, performance art, and possibly weddings and special events. Collaborating with faculty from Fryeburg Academy’s art and audio/visual program provides the opportunity for high school students to take part in apprenticeship, certificate and continuing ed programs. From the standpoint of preservation and reuse, it’s worth noting that over the span of 150 years the building has had few transformations, with this one being the most dramatic. It feels fitting that its latest mission as a center for the arts is to create a cultural hub for the community. It’s an evolving space that has somehow kept its original intent, which is bringing people together in a communal spirit. Amen. R


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BIG PINE FARM

by laurie lamountain photos by julie whelchel “

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o often people take down structures and there’s nothing that honors what was there before. I’m a saver of old structures. Even if you have to amputate a diseased limb, you want to replace it with one that works well and pays homage to was there before,” says Julie Whelchel of the 1809 extended farmhouse she is completing work on in Bridgton. Julie was originally tasked with renovating the farmhouse kitchen and an uninsulated bedroom above the barn. As the project evolved, however, it became apparent that the attached barn, stable, shed, garage and boathouse all had to be taken down due to extensive powder post beetle, fire and water damage. So with the owners’ approval, she went to Plan B, which was to design and build a new structure with the same ridge lines, roof pitches and elevations so that it would blend seamlessly with the original farmhouse exterior. Julie executed the design, had her draftsman put it to paper, and Douglass Construction Inc. in Bridgton was hired to build it, with Julie as oversight agent. “Essentially this is a new build, but I had to marry it in a yin/ yang fashion to the original house in a way that it wouldn’t look new,” says Julie. An unintended positive consequence of the tear down was the opportunity to reconstruct the space for 21-century functionality. The owners are mindful of aging in place and were therefore open to re-envisioning it in a way that would serve them going forward. With children and grandchildren in place of livestock, Julie convinced them to abandon the idea of renovating the original kitchen space and, instead, embrace a redesign for a larger, more functional kitchen, first-floor master bedroom suite, and second-floor guest ensuite with remote office in place of the barn and stable.

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She designed the eat-in kitchen in a way that allows the cook to interact with family and friends while preparing meals. An island that runs along the length of the kitchen both separates and unites. The dining room table is positioned to take advantage of lake views. In an effort to incorporate as much of the original structure as possible, barn boards and beams were salvaged for use in the new kitchen. Only a fraction of them were salvageable, but what could be reused was conditioned and treated. A large carrying beam running the length of the wall above the kitchen sink defines the space as the stable it had once been, with a Carrara marble backsplash adding to the organic flow. Another big advantage to converting the original, much smaller kitchen to a “gathering” room and creating a larger, more functional kitchen in the new space is that a staircase that basically bisected the structure was removed and a door leading into the back yard and overlooking the lake could be added. Keeping to the reverse cottage nine-over-six windows for replacement windows not only honored the original structure, but allowed Julie to design the space to take advantage of pass-through breezes. It’s just one of several ways she intentionally designed the new structure to use as little energy for heating and cooling as possible. Adding a master bedroom suite beyond the kitchen gave the owners something they didn’t have before: one-floor living. The bedroom captures views of the lake and feels spacious due to the fact that bureaus and closets are built-in. The bath features a curb-free shower and frameless doors. With the primary objective of the first-floor met, Julie then had to design access to the second-floor ensuite. “If you know old connected farmhouses, then you know that as you worked through the house from the formal front to the back, when you transitioned from one room into the next, you progressed up as you moved toward the back. So in keeping with the original ridge lines, roof pitches and elevations, it required that we have additional steps going into the back of the barn,” explains Julie. A straight run of the requisite sixteen stairs wouldn’t have worked because it wouldn’t have fit side to side and, even if she had been able to achieve it, would have bisected the house. Mimicking the original U-shaped staircase in the front of the house allowed her to keep the transition relatively seamless. Tucking a remote office into the area behind the stair rails in the upper-most leg of the U affords anyone using the office a view to the first floor.


Walls painted in a cashmere white allow the owners’ impressive collection of artwork to shine. Hand forged light fixtures from Hubbardton Forge in Vermont blend well with hardware Julie was able to salvage and reuse from the barn and stable. Besides handles and hooks, the original barn door and track were mounted on the exterior facade. It no longer functions as a barn door, but it retains the spirit of its original use. Julie also made sure doors, windows and granite from the foundation were incorporated into the new structure. Board and batten, both interior and exterior,

are in keeping with the walls and siding of the old structure. When she realized the barn and stable had to be taken down in the early stages of the project, Julie said she could almost hear the neighbors lamenting the loss of yet another historic structure and its inevitable replacement with something ultra-modern and incompatible. Now that it’s nearly completed, she feels confident their concerns have been quelled. “I’ve achieved the marrying of old and new, while keeping the spirit and aesthetic of this 1809 connected farmhouse intact.” R

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rowing up here, I’ve always been fascinated by this barn,” says Keeno Legare. “I was probably eight years old when I first started sneaking in here. Over the past few years, I’ve gotten to know David [McGrath] pretty well. I like preserving it. So does he.” The 45 x 110-foot former dairy barn on Berry Road in Denmark, Maine, has been a landmark since 1910. But . . . for years now, the barn has been showing its age. Constructed following a fire that demolished a previous barn, David, a selfdescribed preservationist, and Keeno, a life-long admirer of the structure, decided something needed to be done to save it before Mother Nature had the final word. The two men have worked on previous projects together and so Keeno suggested they tackle this one and David, who lives out of state, welcomed him on as Project Manager. “Keeno has been a good supervi-

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RESCUE MISSION by leigh macmillen hayes

sor for me,” says David. “I love the fact that he knows someone in town or nearby for every single piece of this project.” Twenty-five years ago, David McGrath purchased the farm the barn sits on from his father’s estate and about fifteen years ago completed a project to save a collapsing corner. Says David, “I didn’t have enough money to fix the whole thing, so we just picked up half the barn and fixed the front foundation.” Ever since he bought the property, the antique barn has been listing toward the road. Each passing year made the obvious

lean all the more evident and storms with high winds awakened thoughts of impending disaster. When work began on it this past spring, contractors discovered that the foundation had spread about nine or ten inches from the sill on the western side. When excavation began, Keeno recalls discovering separate piles of brown river rocks, powder concrete, and sand buried below eight inches of loam and cow manure, all components of the original concrete foundation. “It looked like they formed up a concrete wall with roughsawn hemlock and probably filled it with rocks, and then mixed the powder and sand together in a slurry and poured it in. Unfortunately, this barn was built on loam and with our extreme Maine winters and the thawing and freezing effect, it’s caused the foundation to bow,” says Keeno. The barn’s frame is built of rough-sawn 8 x 8 x 16-inch lumber with mortise and


tenon joints and pegged in place. Lee Ann Shand, curator of Denmark Historical Society, informs me that carpenter LeRoy Osgood was hired by Fred and Kate Sanborn, the third owners of the property, to build the barn. Though not hand-hewn, Keeno describes it as an authentic post and beam building. It’s a relic to be cherished as a memorial that harkens back to a time when instead of the grocery store shelf, people knew where their milk originated. From Lee Ann I also learn that Fred Sanborn’s sister, Flora, inherited the property and her husband, Greeley True, farmed it. After Greeley died in 1950, the farm no longer produced commercial products. The area beneath the barn served several functions during its tenure from manure storage to carriage and later boat storage. The first floor originally housed dairy cows, and probably other farm animals. Nose rings indicate there may have been four or five cows between every bent. Above each remain labels with dates such as June 7, 1917, possibly indicating when the farmer started milking a particular

cow. A small milk house now stands off to the side, but may have been attached prior to dairy regulations aimed at sanitation reform. Or, it could have been constructed later for the same reason. Other interesting features inside the barn include manure gates in the floor, knob and tube wiring, a couple of built-in wall cabinets, and several stalls. Looking up one notices missing floor boards that apparently disappeared years ago. Originally, there were two more floors. As Keeno describes it loose hay was tossed as high as the farmer and neighbors could hoist it with pitchforks. Once the second story was full, they’d start putting hay up into the third story, which wasn’t completely floored in. Imagine this: a single bent for hay storage, an empty bent to get the hay up or down, two bents for hay, an empty bent, another double, an empty, and a single, thus creating hay bridges across the third floor that they could reach from the second. Wooden vents inside the roof still speak of the need for air circulation not only for

the hay, but cows create a lot of odorous gas. Atop the barn, a recently restored 12 x 12-foot cupola also added a continuous flow of air into the loft. There was a third need for a well-ventilated barn, for one of the most interesting features is the indoor silo that stretches from the basement to the hayloft. Constructed like a large barrel with steel hoops that hold together the wooden staves, the silo was used to store and protect silage or partially fermented fodder, which in this case was corn. Cobs are still visible on the inside walls. As the barn leaned, so did the silo. When the time came to jack up the building in preparation for the new foundation, Keeno suggested they swing the top away from the side of the building. As they lifted the building, a sling held the currently freefloating silo in place. When the project is completed, the silo will sit on a concrete pad and be treated to preserve it. One side of the silo is lined with “mandoors” allowing a person to climb in (though honestly, all I could envision was Winnie-thePooh getting stuck) and compact or knock the silage down, or withdraw some for feed. “I was worried we were going to lose the silo,” says David. “I didn’t understand how they could pick up the barn and the silo at the same time.” There’s still much to be done once the foundation goes in, including replacing sills and some clapboards, plus landscaping. And then? I ask David what his plans are once the project is finished. His quick reply, “None. I won’t turn it into a function hall. I just want to keep it going.” This man loves his barn, which is also evident in the farmhouse where he has an extensive collection of paintings and photograph honoring it. Every year he commissions one or two artists from Gallery 302 in Bridgton to paint the barn or something about it. He tells them, “I don’t want it to be a classic straight on picture of my barn, but after that, you figure it out.” In the end, both David and Keeno agree that the building has lasted 110 years and unless Mother Nature has another plan, it will last many more. “I hope it lasts another one hundred years,” says David. “It’s worthy of it, “ says Keeno. Rather than a restoration, this is a rescue mission filled with love: the barn at 21 Berry Road will lean no more. R

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The Home Sauna Active Relaxation text by laurie lamountain photos by kevin brusie

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he pandemic has put an exclamation point on this, but the world is spinning too fast. Sauna has a discipline to it. Like meditation, which I can’t do, but sauna, I can,” says Bob Daigle. Bob is actually a very can-do kind of guy. After spending six years on a sailboat with his wife Maggie, the couple decided

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they wanted to be on dry land and found a piece of property on which to build a home off Quaker Ridge in Casco that faces breathtaking views of the White Mountains. Though he had never worked with insulated concrete forms before, he built their entire house with them. He admits that there was a steep learning curve, like the time he had to move the location of a window because it was too close to a dividing wall, but the result is a super-insulated house that is impervious to world record winds from Mount Washington. As was the case for a lot of people when the pandemic hit, Bob was taken out of his normal routine. With unplanned time on his hands, his son Keith suggested he build a sauna. He then did what any DIY builder would do and consulted the Google. Saunatimes.com proved to be an excellent source of information and he highly recommends it to anyone going the DIY route. “It can’t be stressed enough,” warns Bob, “a sauna building has very specific requirements. Get a book and read it.” He’s also quick to add that a home sauna is actually not that difficult to build and, if done properly, will not result in the negative consequences that can occur when

applying heat and moisture to the interior of a wooden structure; something most builders avoid. It’s all about a little building with a well insulated and ventilated room. The well-insulated aspect is achieved by creating a proper vapor barrier to “seal in” the heat and moisture that a sauna produces. It’s only in this way that you can hope to sustain the high temperatures that make it a proper sauna. His method is applying Reflectix® over batt insulation in the walls. Once the seams are taped to make it perfectly air tight, he covers it over with 3/4” tongue-and-groove eastern white cedar. Eastern white cedar is definitely Bob’s wood of choice because it has characteristics that allow it to sustain extreme temperatures, it looks good and it’s fragrant. Plus it’s local, which accounts for its sustainability. Ventilation is what he stresses most. Living in a super-insulated home has made him aware of how important air quality is. Their house has an air exchange system and a Netatmo Smart indoor air quality monitor that constantly measures CO2 levels. “The thing about bad air is it’s odorless, colorless . . . so when it goes above a certain level, you don’t know it. You’ll just be half as smart, but you wouldn’t know you’re half as smart because you’re half as smart. There have been studies that show that cognitive levels decline significantly as CO2 reaches excessive levels.” He adds that an unintended positive consequence of COVID is the attention it drew to the importance of ventilation. So when it came to building what amounts to a wellinsulated room with a wood burning stove at the heart of it, he was naturally attuned to proper ventilation. He cites a Finnish Sauna Society review that estimated 90% of American saunas are bad; the other 10% are worse—and it’s all down to improper ventilation. Even if their estimation is harsh, one can assume they know a thing or two about saunas, given that there is one sauna for every two people in Finland. Ridge and soffit vents are essential to the exterior building, but ventilation inside the sauna room is equally important. Tempered glass windows (transom windows preserve wall space and privacy) and a 3” gap under the door to the changing room allow airflow. Tunable vents that can be opened or closed according to atmospheric conditions create an air exchange system—allowing the room to breathe continuously. An air intake vent located low on the wall near the stove will continuously pull fresh air into


the room, while an exhaust vent located higher up on the opposite wall will expel CO2 laden air to the outdoors. An outside standalone sauna usually has two separate rooms. The changing room is similar to a mudroom in that it’s an entry area where you can stow boots and outerwear. It’s also a good space to take a break from the heat of the sauna from time to time. How big it should be is determined by how many people are likely to use the sauna on a regular basis, but a general rule of thumb is that it accounts for about a third of the total space. Including a bench, hooks, shelving and a table to hold snacks and water makes it imminently useful. The cedar door that connects the two rooms usually has a “candle window” made of tempered glass that allows light from the changing room into the sauna. Then there’s the all-important heat source to consider. The traditional fuel for sauna is wood and for this Bob favors a middle-end Finnish stove called Harvia. It’s not the Cadillac of sauna stoves, but it’s efficient, lightweight and affordable. Other options are gas and electric. “If the room is the heart of the sauna, the stove is the soul,” says Bob. “It needs to be properly sized and built specifically for use in a sauna. From cold start, stoves take about 30 minutes to get the sauna up to temperature. People vary in the temperature they like best, for me about 165-170˚F is perfect.” To avoid adding a drain, simply scrub the sauna after each use, shut it down and let it dry out naturally. Ladling water over the rocks produces

steam that the Finnish refer to as löyly, which pushes the health benefits of sauna. Hypertension runs in Bob’s family, but six months after taking sauna regularly his blood pressure was the lowest it’s been in a long time. Studies show that it flushes toxins and cleanses the skin and hair follicles through deep sweating, improves brain health, promotes better sleep, and just feels

good. He likens it to pushups for your immune system. “It’s finding a quiet time to let the world wash away. And that habit really does it, it completely takes your mind off things. That’s probably why meditation hasn’t necessarily worked for me in life; it’s not enough change. But a sauna, when you walk in and it’s 160˚, that gets your attention.” R

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Light Breaking by laurie lamountain

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’ve always been kind of fascinated by the patterns that are made when light comes through the trees. I walk through the woods and I’m looking at all the shadows and shapes. There’s all this complexity of light and layers,” says Laurie Downey. No doubt some of that fascination comes from living on the north side of a mountain in West Baldwin, Maine, surrounded by trees for three-plus decades. She credits her Norwegian roots with making her genetically programmed to tolerate light deprivation. The road leading to the home and studio she shares with her partner and where they raised two daughters is winding, not unlike the path that led her to lyos lightscreens. After studying psychology at Harvard, she took a completely different direction when she enrolled at Massachusetts College of Art and Design and earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in graphic design. As a graphic designer, Laurie’s impulse has been to simplify. Her impulse as a fine artist, however, is quite different. The tangled patterns in nature that inspire her drawings, mostly done in charcoal, allow her the complexity that graphic design, with its high contrast and clarity, avoids. The two sides of the artist came together through set design. When her daughter Kate first became involved with theater in school,

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Laurie created the sets for some of her plays and discovered she really enjoyed working on a larger scale and in 3D. She found that the cutouts she created had the dramatic effect of breaking the light into interesting and graphic patterns on the stage.

“I was having a lot of fun with the notion of what makes an effective set design is something that plays with the light well and gives you lots of options.” After seeing one of the plays, a friend commissioned her to create a sturdier version of one of the cutouts as an outdoor feature for his property. From there Laurie began to consider creating architectural screens and partitions that could define space and diffuse light at the same time, similar to Japanese Shoji screens that use rice paper as a translucent medium. It was a means to incorporate the natural patterns she was drawn to in nature into functional pieces for interior use. Taking her cue from nature, she initially created a dozen lyos lightscreen patterns from drawings and photographs, or a combination of the two, that mimic rippling water, sun dappled foliage, forsythia in bloom, stands of saplings, and bare branches. Another pattern was inspired by the ice that formed on the single-glazed window in her studio one January morning. She begins each project in Adobe Photoshop, where she can fine tune and manipulate a particular pattern that she then imports into Illustrator to save as a vector graphic. Vector graphics, which can be almost infinitely enlarged without losing resolution, allow her to take these often complex patterns and scale them for digital printing. Lyos lightscreen patterns can be printed on


fabric or paper, embedded or etched into glass or resin, or cut from wood, metal or plastic. When patterns are cut from metal or wood, a special file called a DFX (Drawing Exchange Format) is created. That file can be read by precision machinery that uses either waterjet or laser to cut the pattern. In all cases, they can be output as one complete image (as in the case of a curtain) or divided into panels that are continuous parts of an entire image (in the case of a trifold screen or panelized window treatment). One of the first trifold screens she made was commissioned by the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland, Maine. The inserts for “Grove” were laser cut from .04” brass. The mortise and tenon cherry wood frame was fashioned by Ryan Rhoades, a fine woodworker based in Lewiston with whom she collaborated for over a year and a half. It is an exquisite piece that I’ve no doubt William Morris would have agreed is a perfect union of beauty and function. Another trifold has panels made of two layers of waterjet cut brushed aluminum with a layer of rice paper sandwiched between. Individual panels can be inserted or removed through channels cut into the frame. Then there are the screens made with fabric inserts. Contrasting patterns are printed on silk or sateen and stretched over custom aluminum frames that slide into the

channels. A great deal of craft is represented in each frame, and while they are both artful and functional, Laurie is sensitive to the fact that not everyone would find them affordable. So lately she has been experimenting with etching glass and embedding optical grade resins, as well as leaning more toward frameless applications and fixed partitions. Besides trifolds, she has designed fixed privacy screens and room dividers, panelized window treatments and curtains. She is currently working on a partition that the client wants simply to block a home appliance from view. If you talk long enough with Laurie, it’s clear that she is a very visual person with

an inventive streak. It’s why she is also open to creating custom patterns based on what clients have around their property, or something they really love. She made a room divider curtain for her sister, who lives in New York City, using a drawing she did of a scrub pine outside their family summer house. In that way it has particular meaning. “It’s basically been about developing patterns that I think are interesting and evocative and figuring out ways to apply them that might be useful for people,” says Laurie. R For more information on lyos lightscreens visit lauriedowney.net or email her at ld@lauriedowney.net

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Forest Therapy

by leigh macmillen hayes

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o bathe in the forest is to be immersed in a grace that permeates the world, to feel an immanent power and beauty that is everywhere, whispering.” ~ M. Amos Clifford, founder of the Association of Nature and Forest Therapy Guides and Programs When some people hear of a forest bathing walk, being immersed in water immediately comes to mind and they ask if they’ll need to take a dip in a pond or lake. Rest assured; there is no swimming involved. Instead, forest bathing is an intentionally slow-paced walk where participants are encouraged to turn off the cacophony of thoughts racing through their brains and invited to be present in the moment while becoming immersed in their senses and aware of what the forest might be sharing. Local Forest Therapy Guide Jeanne Christie of Windham, Maine, recently explained to me that the practice was developed by the Japanese when they tried to understand why people were getting sicker when they moved into cities. “When they researched it,” said Jeanne, “they discovered that just being in the woods is good for you. It’s good for your immune system, mental health, and cognitive ability. And so they developed a practice called shinrin-yoku, which translates roughly into ‘bathing in the forest atmosphere’ or ‘making contact and taking in the forest.’”

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Added Jeanne, “I think that if we were in the woods all the time, our bodies would not lack things we were getting from just breathing in the forest, so that part of our immune system is in the forest. When you breathe in the forest air, your N.K (Natural Killer) cells, a type of white blood cell that can attack and kill unwanted cells such as viruses or tumor cells, triple in number. Those immunity cells scavenge the body for any cells that don’t look right and get rid of them. But then there’s also the mental piece, which is what the slowing down really helps with.” While we have three types of consciousness, it’s the latter two that are the focus of forest bathing. The first type, orientation, is a fundamental function that is always on and helps us process our relations in space and time. The second type, the executive brain, involves the frontal lobes that we use all the time; this is the thinking, talking, analytical brain. The third type is the default brain that we only revert to when we find ourselves totally in the present in a non-verbal way that allows us to fully experience the world through our senses. The key is learning how to become more fully present in that non-verbal space. Perhaps you’ve experienced it as you sat beside a brook mesmerized by the flow of the water, or watched the dancing flames in a campfire, and suddenly realized that no

organized thoughts entered your mind for a few moments. That’s the “therapy” that forest bathing aims to offer because so many of us spend hour upon hour stuck in our executive brain and at the end of a long day discover we can no longer make even the simplest decisions like deciding what to make for dinner. “I always tell people when we go on a walk that I am not teaching them something new,” said Jeanne. “I’m helping them remember something they already knew. It’s innate to us as a species. Our ancestors would have spent most of their time in the default brain. Other members of the forest spend time in the default brain. We’re learning that trees are sentient in ways we could never imagine. They communicate with each other. The world around us is far more complex; the idea that we are separated [from nature] is a useful but artificial way of organizing the world. We really aren’t.” A forest bathing walk is not randomly led. During the six-month training Jeanne participated in several years ago starting with a week at Sugarloaf State Park in Sonoma, Arizona, a lot of time was spent learning a standardized sequence and how to get people into the default part of their brains. The experience includes a simple sensory invitations from Jeanne, such as this, “We’re going to walk down the trail and the forest


is so pleased that we are here that it has created an art show. And so I invite you to wander behind me and notice all the art that has been left out for you to see.” Language is important and the key to remember is that these are invitations. Participants may choose to do something else, like watch the clouds. Jeanne tells her

participants, “You can do the invitation I offer or something else. I’m a guide. I’m not a leader. I’m not a teacher.” Following each invitation and there are several during the span of the walk, Jeanne uses a ceramic whistle to call everyone to a meeting point where they form a circle. From the ground, she picks up a fallen lichen

or acorn or whatever to pass around. The bearer of the item may choose to share what he/she noticed, or pass. “I’m constantly surprised and charmed by how folks interpret the invitations,” said Jeanne. “I’m really happy when they like it and have a good time, but it’s between them and the forest. Again, I’m just a guide.” Every forest bathing experience is different and the weather is one factor that influences the variation. In winter, Jeanne might say, “Let’s go find how cold and how warm different parts of the forest are,” or “Notice how ice and snow have formed on leaves,” or “Explore what tree branches look like without leaves.” Even the lack of color in winter is a special offering to consider. At the end of the walk, Jeanne gathers the group for one final sharing in which she serves hot brewed tea made from something the particular trail had to offer, such as pine needles or wintergreen leaves. A toast is made to the Earth and then as participants sip their tea, they share final thoughts and slowly switch out of the default brain and back into the executive lobes. An important consideration for any forest bathing experience, but especially fall and winter, is comfort. These slow, reflective walks involve some sitting and one cannot depend on body heat and exercise to stay warm. Snowmobile suits are highly recommended, or at least layers of clothing. Hand warmers are another option. Insulated cushions or three-legged stools are useful for sitting. And a small piece of insulation to stick between your boots and the ground or snow makes good sense. “When I take people on walks,” said Jeanne, “they see the world through new eyes. When we’re twenty minutes in, I just watch the energy sort of relax and flatten out as they come into the present and fully into their senses. I love it because it’s this magical moment, and so just like they’ve never really seen the woods in summer, they’ve never slowed down enough in the winter. I think people are usually surprised, amazed, and deeply reflective of the world when they do slow down and begin to see and connect to everything that is around them. They usually come away wanting to do more.” This season, consider letting the forest be your therapist and allow a guide such a Jeanne to open the door to your senses. R For more information about Jeanne’s forest bathing and other wilderness walks visit www.connecttowilderness.com

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Night Show by leigh macmillen hayes

E

arly sunsets and long winter nights. Some people dread the combination, especially mixed in with cold air. A whole new world, however, comes alive at night and the cold is part of what makes this such a good reason to look up. Autumn and winter provide the ultimate time to experience the stunning Milky Way, far off planets, and unique star clusters as colder air holds less hazy moisture than balmy summer air. Suddenly, clear nights are super clear. Sadly, there is a problem: light pollution from artificial lights. And it has become more and more of an issue during the past few years in western Maine. The International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) defines light pollution as “inappropriate or excessive use of artificial light,” and goes on to state that “it can have serious environmental consequences for humans, wildlife, and our environment.” What constitutes light pollution? For starters, there’s glare from excessive brightness, which can cause visual discomfort, especially for those of us with aging eyes. Then there’s the sky glow that comes from a conglomeration of lights in inhabited areas. (Think Bridgton, where new lighting

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on Main Street makes an evening stroll feel like one taken during the middle of the day and the glow from all those lights is visible from a friend’s hillside home in Chatham, New Hampshire.) Light trespass is another issue, which occurs when a neighbor’s lights fall where they are not intended or needed. I know that my husband and I have noticed a major decline in our ability to see falling stars or any constellations from the dark porch of our camp because light trespass has increased significantly in the past few years. With all of this light at night, the natural or circadian rhythm that people and all life on Earth rely on is radically disrupted. Nocturnal mammals who sleep by day and are active at night are thrown off when light pollution turns their night into day. Birds that migrate or hunt at night find it difficult to navigate by the moon and stars and others are lured into the landscape of cities where collisions with illuminated buildings has become a major issue. While insects are attracted to light, they often meet their fate and declining insect populations affect all of us as we rely on many of them for pollination of our food. Another way humans are affected is that sleeping in light-

polluted environments can result in reduced production of natural melatonin, a primary cancer-fighting chemical in the body, and poor sleep can also lead to higher rates of obesity and diabetes, and other illnesses. And then there’s the wasted energy and money. According to the IDA site, 13% of residential electricity use in the United States is for outdoor lighting and about 35% of light is wasted by unshielded and/or poorlyaimed outdoor lighting. Why all the lights? Perhaps the thought is that increased outdoor lighting will decrease crime. The opposite may actually be true for the lights make it easier for victims and property to be more easily viewed and it provides shadows for perpetrators to hide. What can we do to mitigate the problem? We can begin by evaluating the outdoor lights we turn on and determine if they are unshielded, therefore casting a bright light onto someone else’s property or even into their house. We might consider re-directing the lights toward the ground where they will do the most good; shielding them, which will actually make them more effective and create less glare; using lower wattage bulbs, which in turn will save us money; OR only turn them on when we actually need them. Making those changes to uncontrolled outdoor lighting that has been hiding the stars and changed our perspective of the night will help us and the environment. An added benefit will be that we can look up once again and appreciate what our ancestors saw: a sky brimming with stars. To that end, a generous donor gifted six telescopes to Camp Susan Curtis in Stoneham, Maine, in 2020. Director Terri Mulks says, “The telescopes are the same kind that are used in the Library Telescope Program and are managed by Cornerstones of Science. We created a new program called Look Up! Our campers are able to come to the beach after Evening Program (usually around 9:00 p.m.) and view the night sky. The telescope donor also provided us with tables, chairs, a wagon to move everything around and an Audubon Constellation Book and Star Finder that interested campers can take home with them and share with their family. The campers get pretty excited when they first see the moon up close and enjoy hearing stories about the constellations.” How did they react? “When we came down here, I thought this was gonna be a real drag but it’s actually pretty cool. I would spend 4 more hours out here if I could!” says Jeff.


What a wonder-filled experience for the campers and it would be great to learn if this inspires them to venture out at night during the rest of the year to take a peek. Since the sky gets fully dark before the kids go to bed, the whole family can stargaze together. How about you? Will you venture out on a cold winter night and look up? To locate the stars, orient yourself by facing north, which means that sunrise will be to your right and sunset to the left. Then locate the Big Dipper, those seven stars arranged in the shape of a large scoop or dipper. This group of stars is an asterism within the Great Bear constellation. It’s a circumpolar constellation that circles the North Pole all year. The curved handle is created by three stars and four stars create the bowl. Known as Ursa Major, the handle is the bear’s tail while the bowl forms its back. The two stars at the end of the bowl are the pointers or guardians of the poles. The pointer stars always point to Polaris, the North Star. Polaris provides a good jumping off point to locate other stars. The North Star serves as the tip of the handle for the Little Dipper, which is part of Ursa Minor or Little Bear. This is another seven-star formation. Continuing along the same invisible line from the pointers through Polaris, your

next stop is the tip of a triangular-shaped hat or crown that tops the squarish face of Cepheus, an Ethiopian king. He has a nose, mouth, eye, and short ponytail at the back of his head. Now turn about 45˚ east (toward sunrise) and locate the five stars of his wife, Cassiopeia. Her crown consists of five stars that form a W or M. Even if you can’t find Cepheus, Cassiopeia always sits opposite the Big Dipper. She many not be large, but she is bright. The daughter of the king and queen is also visible in the winter sky. Andromeda’s head is one of four stars of the Great Square. To locate her husband, Perseus, look north, make a line from the Pole Star to Cassiopeia and look down to Algerib, his leading star, which marks one of the ribs of his Y-shaped constellation. He looks like a man with a pointed cap. There are also meteor showers to view including the Geminids in mid-December and Quadrantids in early January. Maine is home to a couple of spectacular places that have been recognized for excellent stewardship of the night sky as International Dark Sky Places by IDA. This recognition is based on stringent outdoor lighting standards and innovative community outreach. One is Appalachian Mountain Club’s Maine Woods, a property in the

100-Mile Wilderness between Moosehead Lake and Baxter State Park. The area is an official IDA Park and the first of its kind in New England. This status helps protect nearly 75,000 acres from light pollution. The even more remote 87,500-acre Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument is designated as an IDA International Dark Sky Sanctuary because it is one of the darkest places not only in Maine, but the world. It’s the first place on the eastern seaboard to receive this designation and only places as remote as Antartica have darker skies. We’ll never achieve that status in western Maine, but we can certainly turn down or off the light switch and let the night show be a natural one where the stars are just that: the stars. R

A few recommendations to make winter stargazing enjoyable: • Dress in layers • Select a site where the sky is dark and not cloudy (check the moon phase before you go and avoid a full moon) • Stand on a piece of insulation (an idea Forest Therapy Guide Jeanne Christie recommends when you will be standing still for a period of time) • Give your eyes 5 to 20 minutes to adjust • Use your naked eye or try binoculars

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the bookshelf BOOK REVIEWS FROM THE OWNERS & STAFF OF BRIDGTON BOOKS

JUSTIN’S LIST

We are planning a trip to historic Salem, Massachusetts, this fall partly because we enjoyed Chris Bojalian’s new novel Hour of the Witch. Set in Boston in 1662, Mary Deerfield is the second wife to a much older Thomas from an arranged marriage. He proves to be abusive, both verbally and physically, especially when he tips the bottle. Mary wishes to escape from her husband, but there is little recourse for a woman in her situation. She decides to do the unthinkable, setting a plan in motion which results in startling repercussions, for Thomas is not Mary’s only adversary. Bojalian’s Salem Witch trial story with a feminist twist is not to be missed. Fast forward a little more than two hundred years to Wyoming’s Powder River Valley for Michael Punke’s new novel, Ridgeline. Gold is discovered in the heart of the Lakota Sioux territory and prospectors are flocking to the area illegally. Colonel Carrington and 300 men are sent to build a fort to protect them. Red Cloud and Crazy Horse know they have to stand and fight, but they don’t have the firepower. A chess match begins between the two groups culminating in what is referred to as the Fetterman Massacre. Having read other accounts of The Powder River War, I can honestly say this is a wonderful depiction of the actual events and very entertaining to read. “Ill-fated” is an almost universal adjective when it comes to early polar exploration, and the voyage of the Belgica in 1897 is no exception. Madhouse at the End of the Earth by Julian Sancton chronicles this quest for the Magnetic South Pole, making it vividly come alive. Leader and organizer Adrien de Gerlache wished to have an all-Belgian crew for his undertaking, but without enough skilled Belgian seamen to choose from, he is forced to pick men from other nationalities, and their bickering and fighting starts the trip off on the wrong foot. When Gerlache decides to push on instead of retreat, and the ship gets trapped in ice, things look especially bleak. Fortunately, two of the crew, a young Roald Amundsen of polar fame yet to come, and Dr. Frederick Cook, an American, would help immensely. World War II novels continue to be churned out by publishers at an almost exponential rate. Not everything is worthy,

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but these two novels shine! In The Forest of Vanishing Stars by Kristen Harmel, Yona is kidnapped as a baby from her German parents by Jerusza, a shamanic woman who raises her in the forest and teaches her to live and thrive off the land. Yona longs for human company outside of her mentor, and when Jerusza finally succumbs to old age, Yona seeks out others. But unbeknownst to her, World War II is raging, and Jews begin escaping from the Polish ghettos into her forest world, badly in need of her skills. The Bileski Brothers were the true inspiration behind this novel, and Peter Duffy has written a non-fiction history about them if you want to study the subject further. Mark Sullivan, author of the well loved Beneath the Scarlet Sky has penned another sweeping World War II saga, this time set on the Eastern front entitled The Last Green Valley. The Martel family have farmed the Ukraine for generations since they emigrated from Germany in the 18th century along with many other Germans to cultivate the “Breadbasket” of Europe under Catherine the Great. They prospered until the Bolsheviks took power and collectivized the farms, taking away all they had worked for. Many were persecuted solely because they were successful, and lost their land, or were sent to Siberia, or killed. When the conquering German soldiers took Ukraine, many Ukrainian Germans helped them or were forced to help. The Martels have tried to keep a low profile with the Nazis, but now the Soviets are advancing and the Nazis retreating. The story begins with the Martel family caught in the middle, having to decide whether to retreat with the murderous Nazis or face

the vengeful returning Soviets. Action Park by Andy Mulvihill details the also named notorious amusement park in New Jersey his father created in the 1980s. Gene Mulvihill, the founder, had a laissez-faire attitude when it came to risk, and safety precautions were not a priority. It was all about personal responsibility. In its heyday, over a million people a year visited the park looking for thrills, and many got more than they bargained for. Andy, who worked at the park along with his siblings, recounts many hilarious and entertaining stories of his father’s quest to become the Walt Disney of New Jersey. Go behind the scenes at the park and prepare to be astounded at what went on! Unfortunately there were also tragedies. I have never been a big fan of “books about books,” but The Reading List, a novel by Sara Nisha Adams, provided nourishment for my soul during these strange times. Mukesh, a recent, elderly widower, whose wife was a lifelong reader, decides to take up reading to combat depression and maybe connect with his bookworm teenaged granddaughter. Aleisha is also going through a rough stretch in her life. When she takes a job at the local library, she discovers a list of books with the heading “Just in case you need it.” Aleisha decides to read the books on the list and also suggests them to Mukesh who has begun to patronize the library. Soon, a relationship is forged between the two through shared books, and they help each other overcome their grief and disappointments. This novel is a love letter to libraries that is not overly mushy or sentimental.


PERRI’S PREFERENCES “Sometimes the answer is not a solution but just presence or an attempt at understanding.” —Jory Fleming Jory Fleming was diagnosed as autistic when he was five years old. In addition to suffering from several physical ailments, he couldn’t tolerate other people and threw uncontrollable tantrums. It was impossible for him to attend a regular school and doubtful that he would graduate high school but thanks to his mother’s dedication and home schooling, he ultimately attended college and was awarded both the prestigious Truman and Rhodes Scholarships. How to Be Human: An Autistic Man’s Guide to Life, is a series of conversations between Jory and interviewer Lyric Winik exploring his perspective on the world, his abiding faith in a Creator, and trying to explain the way he thinks and processes information. This “memoir of Jory’s mind” allows us the privilege of engaging with a fascinating, unique intellect sometimes confused by so-called “normal” people but often more humane and insightful than those who label him “different.” War sucks. It doesn’t matter what side you’re on, what cause you believe you’re fighting for, or which nations are involved in the conflict—lives are shattered, families are torn apart, and landscapes are laid to waste. It’s stupid. In The Mountains Sing, Nguyen Phan Que Mai explores how wars and conflicts affect average people who just want to get on with their lives. Her poignant coming of age tale, inspired by her own family’s history, begins in the early 1970s in Ha Noi, Viet Nam, with young Huong living with her grandmother, Tran Dieu Lan. They are waiting for news of her mother and father, both doctors who left years before to help with the war effort. Dieu Lan gradually reveals the story of her life to her granddaughter, covering Viet Nam’s defeat of the French in the 1950s, the devastating Great Famine, and the horrors of the Communist land reforms (aspects of Vietnamese history unfamiliar to most Americans), while engaging in risky business to provide a better life for her family and community. As poetic and beautifully written as it is enlightening and true, The Mountains Sing offers a perspective on strength and survival along the lines of Bao Ninh’s The Sorrow of War and Andrew Pham’s The Eaves of Heaven. One Night Two Souls Went Walking, by Maine author Ellen Cooney, follows a young female interfaith hospital chaplain on

a night’s rounds tending to a wide range of patients’ needs. Some just want to chat, one needs a final hand to hold, while another talks of the holiness of waves. At the core of the story is the chaplain’s search for the meaning of a soul. What is a soul? Where does it reside? What happens to it when a person dies? At times Cooney wanders into the realms of magic realism with a quirky, mysterious dog as a companion, which makes sense in the context of this book. The patients’ and the chaplain’s stories flow together in an introspective and mildly perplexing narrative that concludes with a gently reassuring normality. A peculiar yet gentle and soothing read for these very confusing times. So, who is The Woman in the Purple Skirt in Natsuko Inamura’s novel? The Woman in the Yellow Cardigan REALLY wants to know. The Woman in the Yellow Cardigan notes that The Woman in the Purple Skirt eats cream buns on the same bench in the same park at around the same time each day. The Woman in the Yellow Cardigan knows where The Woman in the Purple Skirt lives. The Woman in the Yellow Cardigan also manages to get The Woman in the Purple Skirt a job as a housekeeper in a large hotel, leading to a series of odd events and

a disappearance. The Woman in the Purple Skirt reminds me of one of my recent favorites, Convenience Store Woman by Sayaka Murata, as interesting studies of single women living in a society that finds them perplexing, if not downright threatening. In After the Fall: Being American in the World We’ve Made, Obama speechwriter and aide Ben Rhodes travels around the globe to talk with politicians, activists, and people on the streets to discover how the U.S. has impacted their countries and their lives. They talk about the rise of nationalism and authoritarianism that is sweeping across the world and undoing the quest for democracy ostensibly promoted by America. But Rhodes finds America’s embrace of unchecked capitalism, obsession with technology and social media, and post-9/11 nationalism has actually counteracted what the U.S. is supposed to be. Now more than ever, our country must take a serious look at itself and decide how to move toward a safer and more equitable global future. And if everything is getting to be a bit too much for you, please look to poetry. Robert Frost, Carl Sandburg, Richard Blanco, Pablo Neruda, and the classic haiku masters will certainly soothe your soul in the upcoming chilly season.

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the bookshelf BOOK REVIEWS FROM THE OWNERS & STAFF OF BRIDGTON BOOKS

PAM’S PICKS FOR KIDS & YOUNG ADULTS

Kitty & Dragon By Meika Hashimoto Ages 1+ Fans of Frog and Toad will enjoy this threepart story of two best friends. Kitty lives in a barn full of very noisy animals. All that squawking, mooing and oinking is too loud, so Kitty moves out in search of a quieter place to reside. During her search, warnings of a silent dragon resonate throughout the forest, but fearless Kitty pushes on and finds herself at the front doorstep of a cave high on a mountain. Find out who Kitty discovers in this heartwarming tale of two unlikely companions. There’s Something About a Rock By Linda Kranz Ages 4+ No matter where you go, rocks grace our beautiful planet. Their abundance of colors, textures, abstract veins and variety of shapes and sizes, from a small river pebble to an enormous glacial erratic, makes them so much fun to collect and study. Each rock has a story to tell that explains our Earth’s history. Whether you collect rocks to study them or keep a smooth one in your pocket for good luck, journey through the pages to reveal all the ways rocks can keep you entertained. Twig & Turtle: Big Move to a Tiny House By Jennifer Richard Jacobson Ages 5+ Sisters Twig and Turtle are excited and anxious for their first day of school in Happy Trails, Colorado. They recently moved from their large Boston house to a new tiny economy home. Their parents’ goal is to reduce their carbon imprint on the planet, but squeezing two grown adults, two kids and their massive Great Dane into a one bedroom house has its challenges. Follow Twig and Turtle on their journey navigating a new school, making friends and adjusting to downsizing. Rescue at Lake Wild By Terry Lynn Johnson Ages 8+ Madison’s grandmother has a special way of communicating with animals. You could call her an animal whisperer. Her passion is passed down to Madison, who also houses and nurtures injured animals back to health. With a house full of recovering animals, Madison’s mother forbids her to adopt any more.

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But something strange is going on in her hometown. Madison and her best friends, Jack and Aaron, discover two abandoned baby kits (beavers) that will not survive unless Madison takes them home and tends to them, though she understands the risk of her mother finding out. You Brought Me the Ocean By Alex Sanchez Ages 12+ Reviewed by Ruth Tooey, Age 10 Superheroes like Aquaman and Superman are real! Kenny must learn how to use his powers. When he realizes he is gay, he has to tell his best friend (a girl who maybe thinks they are a couple) without hurting her! Meanwhile, Jake has to deal with drunk bullies and prove himself to his friends and mom, and master his powers along the way. The Adventure is Now By Jess Redman Ages 10+ Milton P. Greene is obsessed with his computer game, “Isle of Wild,” and its hero and naturalist, Sea Hawk. His family and school life are falling apart so Milton feels powerful when pretending to explore and conquer dangerous situations in his virtual world. Milton is sent to spend the summer with his uncle on a remote island with an ecological mystery. With no electricity and computer to empower him, Milton takes on Sea Hawk’s identity and makes new friends that join him on the adventure of his life. Small Favors By Erin A. Craig Ages 12+ Reviewed by Bekah Plummer, Age 13 What starts as a warm and promising summer quickly descends into trouble. Ellerie Downing, an innocent teen, is confronted with responsibilities she has to deal with completely alone. Her tiny town is encircled by steep mountains that guard the valley

from the outside world. Scheduled supply runs provide food and materials—and another one needs to happen soon. Many went, only one came back. Something is going increasingly wrong and deformed animals start appearing. Ellerie must keep the farm safe and guard her siblings amidst the unfolding chaos. This is a story for people who like endless possibilities. This mesmerizing story haunted me for days. In the Same Boat By Holly Green Ages 14+ The 265-mile Texas River Odyssey race has been a long-running tradition in Sadie’s family. Even her grandmother has bragging rights for completing this grueling marathon of a paddle. The river is unforgiving and racers face perilous situations around each bend; deadly water moccasins, rapids, blue mosquitoes and downed trees. Sadie has trained all year and has to prove to her dad that not only can she complete the race, but come in the top five. This debut novel made me feel like I was in Texas sitting on the riverbank swatting mosquitoes and cheering Sadie on. The Project By Courtney Summers Ages 15+ Tires screech followed by the sound of metal twisting and crunching. Lo awakes to bright hospital lights and a new reality of life without her parents. Bea, her younger sister, needs Lo to survive so she puts her faith in Lev Warren, the spiritual leader of The Unity Project, who claims to have saved Lo. While outsiders consider The Project a cult, it is hard to prove due to their secretive ways. Lo, a struggling writer with a headstrong boss, is determined to save her sister and her career by writing a never-published paper that reveals the cult’s deepest secrets.


Rediscover Downtown Norway

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