The Wrack is our collective logbook on the web. Here you will find hundreds of articles on myriad topics, all tied to these two thousand acres of protected coastal land and the yesteryear cluster that lends them identity.
Why "The Wrack"? In its cycles of ebb and flow, the sea transports a melange of weed, shell, bone, feather, wood, rope, and trash from place to place, then deposits it at the furthest reach of spent surf. This former flotsam is full of interesting stuff for anybody who cares to kneel and take a look. Now and then, the line of wrack reveals a treasure.
When I heard that the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge would be celebrating its 50th anniversary this summer, I thought "Cool, and I was there at the beginning."
I remember my family taking a jaunt down Route 9 from my grandparents' house in Kennebunk after a ho-hum conversation about some Rachel Carson land that had just opened up. After a short drive, we piled out of grandpa's Bonneville and walked into the woods.
The day was bright, but the sun was muted by a closed canopy most of the way. We strolled along in single file, following a path softened by pine needles, until we reached an opening where sunlight burst through to the forest floor. The effect was profound: Beaming light, a scent of pine and sea air, and an enveloping quiet that belied the presence of my brothers and me. I've no idea how long that moment lingered or how the spell was broken, but I recall that glade as a cathedral, that instant a locus. I was in awe. In Nature.
August 21st is my 38th birthday. The odometer keeping track of my trips around the Sun just rolled over 22.2 billion miles. There’s still plenty of tread on the tires. I am beginning to notice a few twinges of maturity, though. Joint pains, hair loss, reflexive stubbornness, the irrepressible need to give advice – the signs of creeping codgerdom.
Goldenrods are coming. You need not look far to see this harbinger of summer’s end. It's blooming in every field and roadside.
There are 19 species of goldenrod native to Maine that begin blooming in August and continue through fall. Allergy sufferers have maligned this beautiful plant as the source of their misery, but goldenrod, with its large, heavy, sticky pollen grains, is pollinated by insects and not by wind. The real culprit of our itchy eyes and runny noses is ragweed, which blooms at the same time and is pollinated by wind. Ambrosia artemisiifolia, common ragweed, is too elegant a name for the source of our misery, in my opinion.
The orange ruffles hadn’t been there last week, but now they were impossible to miss. Overnight, it seemed, a chicken-of-the-woods had returned to roost on the old oak stump in our yard.
On July 7, we hosted our annual Volunteer Reception. Normally an August event, we celebrated early this year to honor Nancy Viehmann, who just retired after 16+ years as our volunteer and visitor services coordinator. It was also a good opportunity to introduce her successor, Lynne Benoit-Vachon, to many of our most faithful volunteers.
What a pleasant evening! It's not often that crafts festival volunteers, trail rangers, education docents, receptionists, landscapers, beach monitors, trustees, RMA members, and the staff get to mingle. Everyone looked happy to be visiting.
Capturing personalities at the event was Lucie Lachance, who kindly shared her collection of images. We've selected a few to share. Thanks, Lucie, and to everyone who came out for the social.
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