Go to the Pine: Quoddy Journals 2005-2010 by Mark Pawlak

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 My heritage is centered in Lubec, the most beautiful place in our state. So I was pleased to receive Mark Pawlak’s book, Go to the Pine: Quoddy Journals 2005-2010.

The book is a collection of poems and narratives of his experiences along the coast of Maine, which he captures in all its glory and grit. You will hear the fog horn, see the waves lapping the shore, and oh yea, see the rusty draggers and tired motels too.

If you have never been to Lubec and Quoddy Bay, you will want to go after you read this book.

My great grandfather was the keeper at West Quoddy Head Lighthouse in Lubec for 32 years. My Mom grew up in South Lubec, and I often visited my grandmother there when I was a kid. My wife Linda and I visit Lubec and Campobello two or three times a year, relishing every trip and our time there.

There’s a lot of conservation land there now, and great hikes. One of our favorites is to Boot Cove, not far from West Quoddy Lighthouse. So I was delighted to read Mark’s narrative about this special place. Here it is:

“Starting from bottom of the drive, travel the winding ribbon of asphalt hemmed in by scrub brush and stunted conifers that is Boot Cove Road, enjoying its gentle, roller-coasting dips and rises. Turn at the turnout where a wooden sign fixed to wooden post announced Boot Cove Preserve. Follow the path through moss carpets, quaking bog, stands of dwarf fir and lichen-mottled spruce to where it emerges in Hopperesque light at ponymous Boot Cove.”

He goes on to describe the beach: “Pick your way along the rocky shore strewn with hanks of frayed rope thick as your wrist, wood and Styrofoam lobster buoys torn loose from pots… sun-and-salt bleached planking, and storm-tossed tree limbs wedged between boulders.” Linda and I sat on one of those limbs at Boot Cove a few weeks ago. And in his final words in this piece, Mark captured our experience.

 “Take in the ocean’s expanse, the sea’s languorous swells. Appreciate the solemnity of dead firs stripped bare of leaves and bark – silvery sentinels, overlooking craggy notches, where thunderous waves crash below.”

Boy, he got that sooo right!

This is a book I will carry with me when we visit Lubec and Campobello in October, and read again. 

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