Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Maine Last on Forbes- Is That Really a Bad Thing?

There is an impression that we in Maine always seem to be waiting for the next big out of state entity  to bring economic activity and incomes. It was going to be factories, then call centers, and box stores.

Maybe the big economic elephants don't fit with what Maine is about. 

Perhaps instead of wringing our hands and feeling bad about bottoming out on Forbes' list of places to do business; instead of lamenting what we aren't, we should recognize and grow what we are. So Maine is not a great place for oil refineries, chemical complexes, factories and box stores. Maine on the other hand is a great place for small businesses, with a rapidly growing farming sector, wood products, clean energy and my favorite- the most bitchin' deconsolidated fishery in the nation.

Maine is a place where it's recognized that if you buy local or hire your neighborhood contractor, the money stays in town and comes back to you instead of being cyber-whisked off to the Caymans.

Maybe Maine's economy just isn't ever going to impress Steve Forbes, but we can grow stronger by knowing the strengths we do have and tilting policy accordingly.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

On the Hard

 "Still, despite the war, despite anything, really, it eased his heart to be back at sea." -Alan Furst Dark Voyage.

Close Enough is perched on blocks and out of action. The great folks at J.O. Brown & Sons on North Haven take very good care of her. I haven't decided whether to tape a sign on her or not. I love that boat. I love the state of mind that comes from that boat. I can go places too wet and cold to otherwise go.  No matter what else is happening, the quiet and sneaky sense of peace sets in as soon as I pull away from a dock, float or mooring.

That transformative means of letting go the land and the struggles of life there is not an option now. The sense of mastery that comes when a wayward farm boy/attorney/musician is welcomed into a true island community (or two) and then learns how to- at least with fenders- make a boat go across Penobscot Bay and stop at the desired destination without major damage to vessel or float is magic. I'm not sure how to translate that to other spheres in life, but I don't think I could get rid of it if I tried.