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Awanadjo Almanack

The Quoddy Tides of Eastport, Maine

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October light

I walk in your world, a mercy, a healing. Like a cooper of barrels you bind the mountains with ribbing. Your hand rests on the rambunctious seas, they grow peaceful, the brow of a sleeping child. Autumn is a king's progress, largess lies ripe on the land. Up, down the furrow your Midas touch rains gold, rainbows are from you glance. Fall of rain, even-fall, all, all is blessing. — Daniel Berrigan

Natural events — As the sun rises later and sets earlier, our world slowly turns from green to gold. The leaves, which not so long ago were softly greening pale and translucent, are now yellowing and opaque as brittle old paper. They seem to fall with relief, tired of holding on through storm and sun, wet and dry, eager to return to the earth. Unable to resist, they surrender gladly, leaf to leaf mould to soil to tree to leaf for ages and ages. Here is a little ceremony of great power: to catch a leaf as it falls, before it reaches the ground, to stay the force of gravity for a moment, to interrupt the great and irresistible turning of the wheel of life for a few seconds and to hold in your hand a piece of the great miracle, to feel its desire to fall back to the ground just as it desired to rise a few short moons ago. All of this is illuminated by what John Gardner called "October light," whereby the sun gives over its yellow and red and gold light to the leaves and bleaches out to a pale, cool brightness coming in at a low, autumnal angle and giving more light than heat. This is the world in which we now walk.

Field and forest report — Reports are that the apple crop looks good. Picking season is well under way, and orchards are thronged with visitors wanting a good crisp Mac or Macoun, or some Northern Spy to keep over the winter. It seems that hard cider is becoming an attraction at some of Maine's orchards, too, and why not? It's the beverage that built America.

Rank opinion — For a little while we might have held to the vain hope that the creationist/evolutionist battle had finally died down or at least both sides had run out of new ammunition. Unfortunately, this hope was smashed recently when a presumably scientifically educated presidential candidate fired off some new volleys at evolution, saying that an evolutionist may come from a monkey, but he himself comes from God.

It is the opinion of your commentator that evolution and intelligent design are not fundamentally opposed. Both can be true. Science and religion are not naturally at war with each other. Remember that Isaac Newton, widely acknowledged as one of the greatest scientific minds of the last 500 years, also wrote numerous volumes of theology.

We find no reason why evolution could not be part of an intelligent design in the universe, nor any reason why that design might not evolve. But then, these debates are more for entertainment than for enlightenment anyway.

Saltwater report — The recent loss at sea of the ship El Faro with all hands hits pretty close to home here in Maine, where so many go down to the sea in ships. All the training and experience of years is of little avail when nature unleashes her full powers over the ocean. We mourn the loss of the crew, and we honor their courage, love of the sea and sense of adventure.

Seedpod to carry around with you — From Edwin Way Teale, American naturalist, 1889-1980: On such October days as these, we look about us as though in some new and magic land. The mystical draws close behind the luminous veil. We see the things about us and sense larger meanings just beyond our grasp. Looking back on such a time, we add... as Thoreau did one autumn day... "And something more I saw which cannot easily be described."

From Elizabeth Lawrence, English hor-ticulturalist, 1907-1985: Even if something is left undone, everyone must take time to sit still and watch the leaves turn.

That's the almanack for this quarter moon, but don't take it from me. Go out and see for yourself.

All rights reserved, 1992-2015, by Rob McCall, publisher.

Copyright 2015 The Quoddy Tides, Eastport, Maine. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: October 23, 2015

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