Letters, March 6
Why Belfast Transition will be at the Climate Solutions Expo
On Wednesday, March 12, folks from Belfast Transition (BT) will be tabling at the Climate Solutions Expo at the Augusta Civic Center. Why are we going? Belfast Transition is an informal group of people who recognize that our community is unique in the resources, knowledge, experience and passions of folks who are from and drawn to the area. There are so many people here who are building and growing the Belfast area’s ability to address and curb the impacts of climate change, and we want to support and collaborate with them. We look forward to meeting others at the Climate Solutions Expo who, like us, see that transition to a more environmentally sustainable way of life is not about some vision of the future world, or some apocalypse that our children or grandchildren will experience. It’s about what's happening right now. It’s about the cool things that people are working on that take into consideration the impacts of our fossil-fuel-charged culture. It’s about the healthy feeling that people experience when they figure out new (or old) ways to loose a few pounds of CO2, and the creativity and inspiration they feel when they remember to connect more with others as they relearn how to do stuff together. So, please check out the Expo, and come to one of BT’s events in Belfast. All are welcome.
Losing Norris Street pines
I grew up on Norris Street in Searsport in the 1970s and early '80s. These were the days when children played outside all day, everyday. One of our favorite places to play was what we called "The Pines." "The Pines" are a row of 18 pine trees that line the left side of the street. These beautiful, majestic trees now stand at more than 100 feet tall.
A new property owner, after buying the lot these trees stand on, has decided to have them cut down. I cannot tell you how sad this makes me. Because my mother lived at the top of the street and my grandparents lived at the bottom, I walked past these trees many times a day. The children in the neighborhood spent countless hours playing cops and robbers, house, and hide and seek among them. They are beautiful in all seasons and make Norris Street unique. Many people, from town and away, walk or drive past them on their way to the town wharf. What a lonely site it will be to see this huge empty space where they once stood.
How cold is it?
It is so cold that
You light a candle and the flame freezes;
Your shadow freezes to the sidewalk;
You have to break the smoke off your chimney;
You have to open the fridge to heat the house;
Your false teeth chatter and they're still in the glass;
It is so cold that the Statue of Liberty puts her torch inside her dress to keep warm,
That's how cold it is!
Children's ski-racing program deserves a Race Training Center at Ragged Mountain
Something special is happening in Camden and it takes place at the Camden Snow Bowl. Kids in the ski-racing program are learning so much more than just how to ski fast. Led by Jen Conover and supported by a team of accomplished and dedicated coaches including Weber Roberts and Mike Bridges, the racing program has created a group of kids who compete against each other but also support each other in a way that no parent could. When a kid misses a gate or falls in a race, it is their teammates who lift them up.
What was very clear at the states where the Camden Hills Middle School boys won first place in the Class B competition, was that our kids not only know how to win, but most of all, know how to have fun.
While other coaches were reprimanding their kids for not skiing fast enough, our coaches were asking, “How did it feel?”
The racing program is unique in another way: kids of all ages from 10 to 16 hang out together. There aren’t many sports like that. The Zoomers see the kids in Devo or Breakaway and know that someday they will be skiing like that. The older kids know that they are a role model for the younger kids: how they win and lose races, how they handle pressure and disappointment, how they support each other and have fun together — they are setting an example for the younger racers.
Ragged Mountain will be undergoing facilities improvement in the not too distant future. I would like to propose that the current lodge be tuned into the Race Training Center. The Snow Bowl could then host other schools during the race season, something that would be difficult to do now when the Snow Bowl is open to all skiers. We could improve upon an already excellent program by having the space to show training videos, have guest coaches and lecturers and a place for the kids to hang out and keep warm on very cold days. The downstairs could have facilities for kids to tune their own skis.
We already have a winning team, and from what I can see, there are Zoomers and Carvers who will be a force to be reckoned with once they are in Middle School.
People should not mistake a low-key approach to the racing program for one that is not serious and rigorous.
Also worth mentioning is that the coaches have a tremendous support system in the Ragged Mountain Ski Club and the parents who volunteer their time for the races held every week at the Snow Bowl as well as the Family Fun Race, the Seacoast Classic and Sally Deaver races and the Box Car Derby (March 8).
Parents who dedicate their time and energy to preparing for and working these events deserve the support of the community as much as the kids who race.
There is a spirit on the mountain that is special and should be supported by the community at large. After all, kids spending winters outside, doing sports, learning life lessons and having fun — that’s what it’s all about.