Crossing Northern Borders by Patricia Leach

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 The poems and stories about Maine and the Maritimes in Patricia Leach’s book, Crossing Northern Borders, is almost as good as traveling that same path. Published by Maine Authors Publishing, the book is organized into stories and poems about farming and community, fishing and discovery, Cape Breton, and my favorite: Gratitude.

The best way I can share my enthusiasm for this book is to share some of it with you. Here’s a bit from an inspiring story about Patricia’s house raising.

“In these first years in Maine, the kindness of the people I had met was amazing.” Including friends from out of state, “There were more than fifty people for the house raising… A day filled with work, laughter, and picture-taking, and by its end, the frame stood tall and strong. The evening, under a starlit sky, was filled with great food and wonderful music from guitars.

“At about ten o’clock that evening, everyone was singing ‘Angle from Montgomery,’ and I thought it was possible for a heart to break from happiness. Those days made an indelible reminder for me that places may be special, even magical, but it is the people giving their love and kindness who make a picture one can never forget.”

Nice, and so true.

Another story tells us about her keeping of her family’s history and stories, including a “grandmother five generations back who was a princess in northern Alaska. Patricia urges us to “Keep the stories alive and light that candle in the tunnel of time to keep us connected to all that we were, all that we are, and all that is possible.”

I’ve done a bit of that, as have some of my relatives. One of my favorite books was written by my Uncle Philip Searles who wrote about growing up in Lubec. It’s a real treasure. At my book and other talks, I always urge people to write their stories. We all have stories, and they should be preserved for future generations.

The final chapter in this book really grabbed me. Here is how it begins: “Maine, it’s too big, too much. There is no word large enough to hold it. It seems like I am filled up and spilling over with Maine.”

I know that feeling Patricia! And thanks so much for spilling your stories and poems on us.

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