Friday, March 17, 2017



When I was somewhat younger, I took my family on canoe trips down rivers in Maine. There were weekend trips in southern Maine, and vacation trips farther north. Only rarely did we get a week with no rain, and some weeks had more than our share. But, by the end of every trip, we all felt we’d had an adventure, none of us wimped out. Each person had a reason to feel proud. To this day, those trips, and other outdoor experiences, are part of who we are. The trips were not about thunderstorms.

On every trip, it was necessary to ‘spot’ a car downstream at the take-out place. Una, and I would leave the kids with our gear and leave one car at the take-out. At the end of the trip, we reversed the process.

We ended one trip on the north shore of Chesuncook Lake. The kids were not to go in the water during our absence. I told them that, instead, they should gather driftwood and each make a sculpture—a prize would be awarded for the best one. When we returned, they had outdone themselves, There could be no best one. And I don’t know if it rained, or not, that week.

As I consider my mortality, I know that there will be trials of one sort, or another before the end. I’m hopeful that they’ll be nothing more than thunderstorms. But I’m quite certain that I’ll be leaving my country with a pale shadow of the democracy that existed in my youth. It seems that everyone around me is focused on the thunderstorms while our democracy has gone into a coma.

Feel free to disagree—Just don’t say, “YEAH BUT”.

Joe Bakewell.

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