I am still in Freeport Maine. The weather has turned to spring bit by bit, but the clouds are moving in again and it would appear that we are going to be cold this weekend. Oh well, if one dances harder, you warm up just fine.
Did a talk at the Maine Audubon Society’s Gilsland Farm in Falmouth the other night. A nice crowd – half were Audubon folks, the other half friends from this area. Was great to see everyone and they all seemed to enjoy the presentation. Only sold a couple of books but as long as I keep my expectation low (selling one makes me happy) then I’m not disappointed.
I’ve stayed on here at Mast Landing Sanctuary with Peter and Cocky, who, as always, feed me healthy food, share whatever dancefloor we can find and keep the conversation stimulating. We have decades of history together, much of it while being social activists in the Temagami area of northeastern Ontario, and never fault for political talk. They went to Cuba this year (I was there maybe five years ago) and what with the American government’s change in policy towards Cuba happening quickly at Obama’s hand, we are all wondering how Cuba will fare as the wealthy Cuban-Americans return to their homeland and the American tourists follow. I sure hope that the Cuban government has some sort of transition plan ready. Cuba will never be the same – and some think that is good, but “progress” could just as easily turn against the people of Cuba as work for alleviating poverty or hardship.
Best of…with Jacob Augustine on right
Cocky and I went to an event in Portland the other night – the Best of Portland – with free food and music, it was a celebration of the best of everything in the city. It was quite the crowd – we met music promoters, the guy who did the interior design of the building we were in, musicians, insurance men…well, a wide swath of Portland’s finest. The food was phenomenal – a bistro version of tamales, divine – and the music – well, we really only caught one act, Jacob Augustine, a great big bear of a man with a small horn and string section behind him – an act we’d both go and and see again. Great political, social commentary with a rocking backbeat.
I am now preparing to talk to a class at Bowdoin College in nearby Brunswick on Monday. I’m also staying on top of all the details of Philadelphia (which has grown to 4 presentations in 3 days) and the Sunday afternoon at Marian Howard’s home in the Bronx in NYC. So each day I’m doing a little work, trying to keep the focus, but mostly enjoying being here with my friends, getting out for walks in the sunshine and dancing most nights. Our pal Dennis came over last night and you couldn’t stop us – put four dancers in a room with a huge selection of music and you almost have to shoot us to get us to stop (or remind half of the folks that they have work early the next day – that’ll get them home.)
And I made an executive decision to not go to the west coast this summer. I haven’t got enough lead time to plan it properly and get booked in places I’d like to be (and my sister is starting a new job this year and therefore may not have the flexibility to spend time with me.) It felt like a huge relief when I finally decided that I can’t do it all. I can now stay longer in Costa Rica when I return there in May and that sounds just fine to me.
I was invited up to the Chewonki Foundation, an environmental education center near Wiscasset Maine, just a half an hour north of here. As serendipity would have it, Katy Van Dusen, a friend and great supporter of the book in Monteverde – along with her two sons, Richard and Francis – were visiting the area, checking out the colleges that the boys have been accepted to as they continue their education here in the States in September. The director of Chewonki, Willard, along with his wife Jenn and their young daughter Sirena invited us all for dinner and I had the joy and privilege of seeing this world class outdoor classroom and dining with a table full of interesting people. It was also wonderful to be with Monteverde people in Maine, to talk about Wolf, get an update on Benito’s sloth, and tell stories from the Tapir Trail (Wolf has just sent me an email proclaiming this week Tapir Trail week – you had to have walked this difficult path over the ridges between Monteverde and Arenal, or minimally have read the last chapter of Walking with Wolf, to appreciate the significance.) I felt like a breath of home had whispered in my ear.
Since then I’ve danced away the kabanga blues with the Blues Dogs at the Freeport Cabaret (believing this sardine-packed house was a normal night out in the little LL Bean town), and swirled and swished and sipped a variety of great wines at the Freeport Cheese and Wine’s little wine tasting event.
I also visited with Cocky’s brother Henry and his wife Christine – even more stimulating talk aided by the addition of her mom Pat who is supposed to be suffering from alzheimer but seemed awfully witty to me – and today did the ten minute talk at Nat’s class at Bowdoin.
A very interesting class for me, listening to Nat’s stories from Monteverde and about Dan Janzen, the well-known biologist and conservationist now at the University of Pennsylvania, who wrote the naturalist’s bible on Costa Rica – The Natural History of Costa Rica – and is also going to provide an endorsement blurb for the back of Caminando con Wolf, the Spanish version of our book. I’m going to be taking a copy of the English version to him in Philly this week, so hearing of his powerful work, his irreverent personality and his intriguing style as a speaker which has all contributed to a new kind of conservation in Costa Rica has really got me excited about possibly meeting the man.
No two characters on earth could be more fun or better friends than Cocky and Peter -they’ve been so generous and supportive all week, giving me love and soul nourishment constantly along with their wisdom and advice. They know I love them – but here and now I declare it publicly!
With my gang of Mainiac friends at the Audubon talk
I’m going to get in that car tomorrow and start driving right straight on through New York City to Philadelphia – they tell me that’s the only way to go, I95 all the way. Last night, I spoke with Roberto, holding down la finca in Cahuita – giving me an update of the plants we had planted, the monkeys who were stealing his ripe bananas and the death of a character in the area who has haunted me for years – with all due respect, I can’t say I’m sad to see him go. Roberto told me that he prays for me every night, that I’ll be okay out on the highways. I thank him for that, and promise to be very careful – and with that said, Noo Yawk & Philly here I come, highways and bi-ways make room!