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The Wrack

The Wrack is the Wells Reserve blog, our collective logbook on the web.

In Reserve

Posted by | March 26, 2020 | Filed under: Opinion


Keeping quiet is not normally in my nature. My favorite local creature is a mockingbird, after all. But over the past two weeks, I haven’t been my usual active, vocal self. I’ve felt… reserved.

I fully admit to fear paralysis. I blame it on too much reading: about covid-19 victims, about pandemic curves and economic projections, about the rapidly deteriorating conditions in hospitals still far from Maine but moving closer. I’m eating less but I’m digesting more information than ever, which is causing endless heartburn. But I can’t help myself. The changes are coming so quickly, and I feel compelled to keep up.

As a center for coastal science, change is part of what we study at the Wells Reserve at Laudholm. But we’ve never seen the world change this fast. Any massive shift brings with it the emotional barrage popularized by psychologist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross: ceaseless cycles through denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance. It’s how I’ve personally experienced the grief of climate change over the past decade, and now, over the past ten days, the grief of covid-19.

Don’t get me wrong: I’ve been daily inspired by the acts of courage, selflessness, ingenuity, and community I’m seeing, and joining, across our towns, state, nation, and world. Helping where I can, homeschooling as I’m able, and rediscovering my family are getting me through these strange days. But as a representative of the nonprofit sector, I’m too aware of the wider holes opening in the fabric of our society. In this period of isolation and inactivity, the only real treatment for my malaise is action. So what is to be done?

The late, great Mr. Fred Rogers said, “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” Helpers are everywhere right now, which is heartening. I look to our healthcare professionals, our teachers, our neighbors, our restaurants and local businesses. The Brick Store Museum is breaking out from its physical walls to make history vibrant. The Center for Wildlife is delivering daily doses of animal love. Our colleagues at the Maine Island Trails Association reminded us that “no man is an island” and have promised “tales from the trail.” Local land trusts are staying open for now, even as our Seacoast region towns close their beaches to discourage congregating. (Acadia National Park and several coastal Maine state parks shut their gates this week, too.)

How can the Wells Reserve help? We have regretfully but necessarily postponed our public programs, events, and festivals this spring. The staff is currently working together, though more than six feet apart, to bring some other helpful ideas to bear. Most importantly, and easily: Our seven miles of trails, rolling fields, and expansive beach will remain open as long as it makes sense to keep them open. Here you will always find nature, filled with peace, truth, and beauty

No matter what comes during this pandemic, we will continue to be a reserve. This is our strength and we offer it to you. In this trying time, the Wells Reserve is your reserve.

Laudholm Beach

A pitch pine practices social distancing above Laudholm Beach.

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