Sometimes you don’t quite realize how much you needed to breathe and walk in the clean air somewhere else on Earth. In my case, I didn’t have to travel far. I felt like I’d needed to breathe that unadulterated air.
It’s not hard to wonder, with our A/Cs and plastic fans during summer (or near-summer) why the air quality index was so high one day this month that “unhealthy for sensitive groups” was displayed on the Weather Channel mobile app. Air filtering is needed for certain times, and— what else, high voltage air filters produce ozone, making it worse?
And the area that connects Biddeford and Saco is called Factory Island. Yes, Factory Island. At least the smoke stack isn’t being used. (At least I don’t think it is.)
Now, some of you may be wondering: “Why Saco? Biddeford? Why not Portland? Isn’t that where you live?” No, not anymore. I moved. In fact, I was forced to move because I the company that supplemented the rent gave up on Portland altogether with all the wage changes… wage changes it made unilaterally. I don’t have the money to pay the rent — something close to $1,900 a month for a good three bedroom apartment, and I can only manage about a third of that. And that’s why I lived with another person, and once again that’s why I am living with yet another person, just now a different guy… unfortunately with his own set of childish and unsanitary habits. It’s a different kind of stress and sleep schedule.
2021 has been with major change whether I or you like it or not, and again it’s been hard to find the peace of mind to write.
Some awful things have happened as a result of years of negligence. And I’m not just talking what happened in DC. My mother was hospitalized after pretty much starving herself since I left the old home, and worse after falling on the ice, where she ate even less. Years of denial turned into straight up mental illness. And now her moldy house is stripped of its walls and its contents, and the place may be sold soon. The house I grew up in is gone.
So it has been an emotionally rough year.
There are times I definitely need to get out, and breathe, and get away from everything. But, here in Biddeford, the roads are everywhere. It takes some driving time to get to an actual trail or substantial park, but even then, there may be a bridge or train overpass in the middle of the trail or industrial zones near the park.
There are trees, but…
Plenty more buildings.
The buildings in Factory Island (aka Saco Island), were originally built two centuries ago, refurbished and extended. That’s lots of bricks, and… much of Saco river in between, which seems kind of crazy, but things kind of worked out that way.
Pandemic-wise, places have been opening up all over — not just at the Island but all over Maine, and many no longer require masks, including the Hannaford store chain. Nevertheless, I might want to wear some kind of mask considering all the traffic fumes; heck, that concrete down there is also a road. Some people fish in the river…
In boats, some of them. Yeah.
The park beside the major river, Mechanics Park, may have a lot of greens in late spring, but the air… yeah, it’s not the best in my book.
Oh, and there’s some sort of refinery too. Right next to the park.
Enter the refuge in Wells, Maine. And I entered, alright. Fresh air.
Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge. (Say that ten times fast.) Only one small road connecting.
Instead of roads, it has a few small federal buildings, dirt and rivers that run out to the Atlantic ocean. And if you know the ocean, it makes the air cooler — something welcome during these hot days. The view is really nice.
Technically, I was supposed to get to Wells for the Saturday Aspie group, but I got there over an hour late. I missed them, and a bee looked me over (with thoughts of “please don’t sting me” in my head), but the trail was worth walking anyway.
Some trees were permanently bent away from the sun at 3 o’clock, from that 2005 landslide perhaps.
All bridges and balconies were numbered.
Some with benches. You might catch sight of an egret. (I spotted an egret.)
The boundaries were pretty clear, and the poison ivy signs were pretty clear too — don’t touch the plants.
And then this tree stood out.
It had so many branches. Some things are really hard to document in photographs that you actually have to be there to experience it.
I ought to return there again. It seems I need the oxygen.