So, I get back from Maine, and I find a Zardoz infestation. What does one spray? Bullets? After all, the gun is good...
Beaver Shores Club is close to the wildest, deepest, and least explored forest belt in Maine, and it took a whole day of feverish jolting through fantastic and forbidding scenery to get there in a car. In 1926, while a high school student in Framingham, Massachusetts, my grandfather bought a share in the place, a cabin which had originally been built as the field office for a logging company. It's a two-room structure right on the shore of a "great pond" (current restrictions prevent new construction within 250 feet of the shore). As other partners in the camp grew older, they sold their shares to my uncles, so the camp is now in the family's hands.
I traveled up with one of my uncles and an old friend of his (who, scandalously, had never been to the place), and we met up with a bunch of family members (another uncle has been building a gorgeous cabin across the pond, and was up with my aunt, my two awesome college-age cousins, his sister-in-law, and her two awesome adolescent kids, yet another aunt came up a couple of days later with my little cousin, an extremely bright and articulate seven-year-old).
One of the first acts I performed was a symbolic ridding myself of the trappings of urban modernity... the keys, the cell phone, and the wallet were put away- the hands would be occupied by the paddle, the splitting maul, and the scythe (I had to clear the "leaching field" for the grey water). For the next week, a bath was a jump in the pond with a bar of Ivory soap (it floats), and the only calls came from the loons. I had a couple of wonderful kayak trips (for one, I ported the boat over a small dam and paddled around the marsh formed by the pond overflow), and chaperoned a solo paddle for my little cousin (he did a great job turning around a float, and then had a straightaway paddle until his arms tired, and he needed a tow). We did some minor chores (we hung a smoke detector and a couple of fire extinguishers, and felled a couple of dead trees- my college-aged cousin could probably perform gall bladder surgery with a chainsaw). A couple of the teenaged neighbors from two camps over (Framingham boys, grandchildren of a family friend) stopped by for an impromptu chess tournament. We had a number of big family dinners (my aunt's sister stocked up on Arthur Avenue before driving up). I drank Moxie, and had Spam with breakfast. All-in-all, it was a delightful pastoral interlude, just the right thing to make one appreciate hot running water and 'lectricity.