Monday, March 7, 2011

Coastal mountains

I've seen them hundreds, maybe thousands, of times by now and it's always thrilling. Whether from Route 1 in Warren, or Ash Point Drive in Owls Head, or Route 17 in Rockland, or Park Street in Rockport, or Barnstown Road in Camden, the sight of Ragged and Bald, Megunticook and Battie and Beech reminds me that the Camden Hills are a special place. I can't say they're spectacular, like the Pacific Coast Mountains. They're not outsized, larger than life, perpetually snow-capped (except maybe this year). But if you've been away from Maine, or preoccupied with the ocean, or stuck inside by furious winter or capricious summer, that first glimpse of the hills brings you to your senses. They're so close to the sometimes frantic activity on water, traffic jams on Route 1, banks and restaurants and gas stations, and yet so far away, in another world of trails and trees and views and peace. People go to the tops of mountains for all kinds of reasons but the principal one must be to reanimate a clarity of vision.

At a time when forces seem to be gathering against clarity, against peace and quiet, against the environment, the preservation of these coastal mountains and places like them is paramount. Join Coastal Mountains Land Trust ( http://www.coastalmountains.org ) like I did, contribute time and money and energy. It's impossible to be mean-spirited at the top of Beech Hill.

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