Archives for A Word In Edgewise

A Word in Edgewise 8/15/16

Producer/Host: R.W. Estela

“Of Dragonflies & the Rio Olympics”

A Word in Edgewise 8/8/16

Producer/Host: R.W. Estela

NOTE: “A Word in Edgewise” did not air this week, as the station was off the air due to a lightning strike. Host R.W. Estela has provided this transcript of the comments he had intended for that day’s feature:

8/8/2016 — R.W. Estela, A Word in Edgewise

[aired live ~730 EDT on WERU-FM 89.9 & 99.9 & streaming at]

((note: due to a lightning strike at WERU-FM ~7/22-23/2016, the studio phone line became inoperable for over a week, so that 7/25/2016 AWIE was archived by PDF only; subsequently no attempt was made to create an 8/1/2016 AWIE))

Toward the end of this past week the slender-though-waxing crescent Moon slid directly below Mercury and then Jupiter a day later, with Venus in close pursuit.

One of the advantages of our relatively rainless days and nights here in Down East Maine lately is the clear evenings we’re afforded. Something about that crescent Moon past sunset last night seemed so much a ready handle upon which to hang a hope or two for today.

Coping with this summer’s drought would be one such hope: if the farmer and the gardener have sufficient water available, a hot dry summer will make for good crops.

For several years now, my girlfriend and I have been big into second plantings of corn, squash, beans, carrots, peas, lettuce, and spinach. We have also become accustomed to waiting until late June to sow pumpkins and summer squash.

When evening temperatures tend toward the 60s, germination occurs quickly, with most seeds sprouting two to three days after planting.

Fortunately we have a handy spigot and plenty of hoses, so the seedlings then grow rapidly.

Another upside of the otherwise not-to-be-recommended drought is the near absence of pests. Japanese beetles, for example, an annual bane in our garden, are yet to arrive.

Obvious indicators of the drought are, nonetheless, not ubiquitous.

Yesterday morning, for instance, I went for a paddle in Orono on the Stillwater River, that oxbow of the Penobobscot River that forms Marsh Island, upon which the University of Maine sits.

My usual route is to put in at Webster Park and to paddle upstream as far as the dam at Stillwater Avenue, and then around an island just below the spillway of the dam and then downstream back to where I started. Altogether this makes for about a five-mile workout.

Owing to the hydroelectric facility at the Stillwater Avenue dam and another hydroelectric facility in Orono just above where the confluence of the Stillwater River with the Penobscot River, the section between the two dams stays at a level favorable to the operation of the two dams. In other words, water is held back at the lower dam.

The Penobscot River, on the other hand, had a US Geological Survey gauge height at Eddington during the weekend that fell below two feet, meaning much of the Penobscot River between Old Town and Bangor has exposed rocks and is generally known in the paddling vernacular as “bony.”

So we enjoy the ample sunshine, but we pray for rain — such is the paradox of Vacationland during a drought.

Next week we’ll be reporting on the Rio Olympics, already underway these past few days.

Hi, this is RW Estela: For more than a quarter of a century WERU-FM has been like an ever-expanding garden, despite the hardships of an ever-changing economic climate and an assortment of natural disasters such as storms that spell trouble for the station transmitter and the occasional random lightning strike that decimates telephone communication. Through it all, however, WERU-FM has had the generous support of its listeners, be they volunteers or members — or frequently both — who have seen the value of providing a unique blend of music and public affairs to the listening community. Please do what you can to continue the worthy tradition of supporting WERU-FM in its efforts locally and internationally. Thank you.

From Orono, Maine, Here’s to a Great Day!

rwe edgeword © 2016

A Word in Edgewise 7/25/16

Producer/Host: R.W. Estela

NOTE: “A Word in Edgewise” did not air this week, as the station was off the air due to a lightning strike. Host R.W. Estela has provided this transcript of the comments he had intended for that day’s feature:

Unsettled weather had been forecast for the beginning of the weekend, and the Doppler radar screen this past Friday showed various collections of yellow and red among the dark green that was moving at a quick pace across a map of New England.

Scott Phillips, a fiend of mine from the Penobscot Nation, had earlier in the week sent me an email about the welcoming he and other tribal members were planning for the Hokule’a, the Polynesian double-hulled sailing canoe that has been circumnavigating the globe for the past couple of years.

“They’ll be arriving quietly at Mount Desert Island Friday night,” he informed me, adding, “And then on Saturday morning around nine o’clock they’ll be ceremoniously working their way up Somes Sound to Jock Williams’ boatyard in Hall Quarry. A bunch of Penobscots and Passamaquoddys and other Wabenaki will be paddling out in birch bark canoes as a welcoming party.”

He asked me whether I would be able to attend, and I told him it all depended on what we would have for ceilings in the morning. Flying around the middle of Somes Sound is a little tricky regulation-wise, as the national park has guidelines recommending that aircraft be no closer than 1500 feet from park terrain.

“Well, if you make it,” said Scott, tongue in cheek, “I’ll wave to you.”

Fortunately Saturday morning arrived mostly sunny with only occasional scattered clouds drifting through.

About a quarter past nine I made a pass down the middle of the Sound and saw what appeared to be the Hokule’a halfway between Southwest Harbor and Hall Quarry and heading north.

Just leaving Hall Quarry and paddling south was a flotilla of birch bark canoes, about five in all.

The dock at Hall Quarry had a couple of dozen folks waiting, with additional spectators gathering.

Within minutes the Hokule’a and the flotilla were gamming temporarily, and then two of the canoes went to the starboard side of Hokule’a, and two went to the port side, and one went out front to take the lead.

Before long they were all pulling into the boatyard dock. I snapped a few more aerial shots and began heading north for my return flight to Old Town.

On the return trip to Dewitt Field, I thought about this group of Polynesian sailors who had been working their way around the planet since 2014 as ambassadors of peace and exploration, and I thought what a contrast their endeavors are to so many other efforts many of our fellow humans are making at the moment.

I thought, for example, about a cartoon by Clay Bennet of the Chattanooga Times Free Press that appeared this past weekend in the Maine Sunday Telegram.

The cartoon depicts a middle-aged fellow wearing a sweatshirt that has the name Trump circled with a diagonal line run through it. Out of one side of his mouth the fellow says, “I’m not crazy about Clinton . . . ,” and out of the other side of his mouth he says, “. . . but I’m not crazy.”

Ah, and we’ve still got a good couple of months to see and hear and feel way more of this sort of thing than most of us would ever care to . . . . But for alternative excursions, stay tuned to forthcoming editions of A Word in Edgewise.

From Orono, Maine, Here’s to a Great Day!

rwe edgeword © 2016

A Word in Edgewise 7/11/16

Producer/Host: R.W. Estela
Studio Engineer: Allison Watters

“Help Me Through the White”

A Word in Edgewise 7/4/16

Producer/Host: R.W. Estela
Studio Engineer: Allison Watters

“Independence Day Watershed”

A Word in Edgewise 6/27/16

Producer/Host: R.W. Estela
Studio Engineer: Allison Watters

“Solar-powered transAtlantic Flight”

A Word in Edgewise 6/20/16

Producer/Host: R.W. Estela
Studio Engineer: Allison Watters

“Saturn Under My Thumb”

A Word in Edgewise 6/13/16

Producer/Host: R.W. Estela
Studio Engineer: Alison Watters

“The Non-Zero-Sum Game”