A Word in Edgewise 10/23/17

Producer/Host: R.W. Estela

Note: Today’s episode of “A Word in Edgewise” was not recorded, so the producer has provided the following transcript.

10/23/2017 — R.W. Estela, A Word in Edgewise
[aired live ~730 EDT on WERU-FM 89.9 & 99.9
& streaming at weru.org]

Today is the 23rd of October, the 286th day of 2017, with 69 left in this year.

For the next couple of nights, the waxing crescent Moon in the southwest sky will have a star-like object as a companion, notably Saturn, the sixth planet out from the Sun.

As two celestial bodies appearing in a sort of proximity to one another, we might remember that while the Moon is our closest celestial neighbor at just a little over 251,000 miles from Earth, Saturn is the farthest world that humans with an unaided eye can see — and is nearly four thousand times the Moon’s distance from us.

Seventy years ago, Maine was in the midst of wildfires burning at a number of coastal locations.

Austin Wilkins, Maine’s Deputy Forest Commissioner at the time, was writing his official summary for the 1947-48 Biennial Report of the Commissioner and attempted to put into perspective the 205,678 acres of scorched Earth in Maine by comparing the burned area to “a strip of 286 miles long and 1 1/8 miles wide extending from Fort Kent to Kittery.”

On Mount Desert Island more than 10,000 acres in Acadia National Park would burn after a fire began in a peat bog near Dolliver’s Dump in Hull’s Cove.

Gale force winds sprang up from the north and fanned the flames toward Eagle Lake.

Then the wind changed direction and blew the fire toward Bar Harbor, where the wind changed direction again and blew the flames toward Otter Point and off the cliffs into a giant fireball that ran out of fuel over the lower reaches of Frenchman Bay.

All told, the subsequent smoldering lasted for another fortnight.

After at least one hundred days of drought, rain finally fell on the 29th of October, though the fires on Mount Desert Island would not be declared entirely under control until mid-November.

If a silver lining might be at all imagined from the 1947 fire, the upshot would be the change of the forest — from principally the characteristic boreal species of pines and spruce, to some substantial thinning of those dense stands of evergreens, enough to allow hardwoods a chance — so that the general pallet of colors this time of year is substantially different on the eastern half of Mount Desert Island than it was seventy years ago.

The Maine Department of Agriculture’s Maine Fall Foliage Weekly Report says that we are currently seeing peak colors in Down East Maine, with northern Maine approaching past peak.

This past Friday I had the pleasure of riding down to New Hampshire on an unexpected errand and spent from dawn until dusk enjoying the near-peak colors of southern Maine and New Hampshire.

As I slowly made my way home on the Triumph Friday evening, trying not do outrun the high beams — and at 55 to 60 mph having everyone pass me as they were doing 75-85 mph into the darkness — I felt somewhat comforted that the annual Blessing of the Bikes ceremonies would be happening around the world over the weekend.

“We pray that we all see cars, and that the cars see us,” one biker at the Murraysville Alliance Church commented on Barry Reeger’s video of the event for YouTube.

And a photo by Charles Platiau for Reuters of a Saint-Baudile Church service in Neuilly-sur-Marne near Paris, France, yesterday was featured in the Bangor Daily News this morning.

About a dozen and a half helmets are pictured at the altar of the church, and the priest is blessing them — tantum, sacramentum, ergo . . .

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From Orono, Maine, Here’s to a great day!

rwe edgeword @ 2017