On the Bay

The comment on Skype this afternoon was meant to be serious, if not utilitarian. I was letting my co-workers littered around the country know that I was going to be taking off to drive down the Baba’s house in Belfast so she could see the kids in their costumes. Also, it meant that the kids could hit up the houses on the infamous Cedar Street before canvassing Castine.

One co-worker in Upstate New York joked about us going “over the river and the through the woods.”

“Well,” I thought, “Yeah, we kind of are.” And proceeded to hunt down a screenshot of the Google Maps route taking us up the East side of Penobscot Bay and down the West side.

“Ha, looks like you go over the river a few times,” he tossed back.

Yeah, I suppose we do. The Penobscot River and the bay that it flow into is a magnificent geographic feature. Looking out over the bay on our return from Baba’s house this evening I couldn’t help but consider the historical significance that such a body of water has played in all the various forms of life that have found themselves on it’s shore.

For early water travellers, the bay meant a safe passage, when open oceans were a place to avoid at all cost. For early European settlers, the logs flowing down river through Bangor and out into the bay helped build an empire and the ships used to defend that empire.

We don’t really use the bay anymore. In the 70s scallop draggers scraped the sea floor so clean you just don’t find enough of them to be useful anymore. Trucking has rendered the challenges and dangers of water transport for logging obsolete. The most we do is gather river mussels or soft shell clams from the sandy beach on the property adjacent to our farm.