Spiritual Practice

Late Spring is All Abloom Downeast and in Acadia

This is a repost from 2011~

As I am writing this on May 18th, our lawn is definitely abloom in dandelions. With this cool, damp spring, we are going to have just about all of our spring flowers and shrubbery blooming at the same time as our leaves unfold. Our spring seems to burst forth, all at once, though for the observant, it unfolds its beauty, a little each day.

Though Spring has arrived a tad late this year, there is one facet of our Downeast spring that has shown up right on time…the black fly.  Native Mainers love them. They keep the year round population down around here. David and I love them too.  The black flies signal gardening time and the arrival of spring warblers, who feed on them.

I’ve had pretty good success convincing black flies and other insects that David and I are their stewards; they should be kind to us. Those times when they are overcome by black fly mass consciousness to consume, we resort to hard core tactics, aka, Hard Core Bug Off. It’s the best natural bug repellent we’ve used and we’ve tried them all. It conditions my hair and skin, too and the scent is agreeable.

Now…why would I tell you about black flies when I want to fill cottages between now and the high season???

I am excrutiatingly honest when people contact us for a reservation here during this period. Most expect it to be summer here on Memorial Day weekend. We will have a few hot days between now and the official start of summer, but more often it’s in the sixties,  with a brisk sea breeze (keeps the bugs away). For those who think that the Bar Harbor area is a quaint northern version of the Jersey shore….I’d rather direct them elsewhere then risk their being unhappy here.

This is a great time to visit Acadia National Park and have the trails to yourself. The ocean side trails are virtually bug-free and the top of Mt. Cadillac is minus the big tour buses of summer. After  hiking in Acadia, you can go downtown to Bar Harbor and not have to wade through three cruise ship’s worth of tourists on the main drag. It’s a lovely place to stroll, shop and dine in or on the deck.  You can take in a  movie at Reel Pizza in the comfort of an easy chair and enjoy their bottomless bowl of popcorn with real butter.

Here at Light Heart Retreat, it’s a magical time of year that we relish, despite the long days working the vegetable gardens, doing landscaping, spring cleaning cottages and …

We love listening to the frog songs through the spring season into summer. It begins with the quack of wood frogs as soon as the ice is off the little quarries. Next, the spring peepers sing well into June. After dark we walk out to Bragdon Quarry to listen to the tree frogs. Their trilling is so loud, you’d think you were in a tropical rainforest.

The green frogs are just getting warmed up here this week. One young guest asked us last summer, “What makes the sound at night that boings like a rubber band?” Then last, but not least comes the competition amongst bull frogs.

The time leading up the Summer Solstice is highly energetic here, especially on the full moon in June. It’s when we’ve taken some of our best photos of colorful orbs, blue-white swooshes and intensified auras around our flowers. It’s wonderful to be out after dark, hearing the frogs, sitting by a campfire or wandering around the gardens and out to the standing stone circle with your camera.

So who would enjoy visiting here over the next 4 week period?

  • Hardcore outdoor fanatics who can’t get enough of Maine no matter what time of year it is.
  • Those who would enjoy being a tourist without the crush of high summer, who would appreciate Light Heart Retreat’s well-appointed cottages and the quiet, natural surrounds to return to after a long day of window shopping.
  • Hikers who want the trails in Acadia all to themselves. You could even do mindfulness meditation on the trails this time of year.
  • Someone who has a creative project that needs to be finished up by working inside. Your only disturbance will be the call of the Hermit Thrush. Need inspiration for your creativity? The Hermit Thrush varies it’s melody slightly each time it sings. Every melody it sings is original.

Light Heart Retreat in the spring isn’t for everybody. For some, it’s downright heaven! A big High Five to you Hardcore Lovers of Maine. Hope to see you soon.

Small Wonders

This is a repost from 2017~

David and I have been away at the American Society of Dowsers Convention in Lyndonville, Vermont. We brought back some good information that we can put to work in our gardening and in the daily clearing work we do here for ourselves and others. The trade off was the many hours we spent in the car coming and going, two days spent indoors sitting, listening to lectures, and three nights spent in hotel rooms where quiet was non-existent except for between 3 AM and 4 AM. Dorothy said it best in The Wizard of Oz. There’s no place like home. This especially true when your home happens to be Light Heart Retreat.

This morning I really relished my walk out to Bragdon Quarry. It was overcast and cool and I didn’t mind it a bit. I paused to pick a few wild strawberries. They’re early and larger this year due to the recent rain. I noticed that despite the big down pour we had a week ago that all but one puddle on the Bragdon road had dried up.

My next wonderful little find was a dark feather, downy on one end. It didn’t belong to a crow or a raven–not black enough. It may have come from an osprey, hawk or an eagle. We find eagle feathers often. I tucked it in my sweatshirt pocket.

It would have been hard to miss the pieces of blue egg shell that were on the road, too small to be a robin’s egg. I’ve been hearing baby birds call for a couple of weeks here, as well as a pair of crows and blue jays go at it behind our house. Sometimes it’s not so quiet here!

I spent about twenty minutes at the quarry in contemplation. There’s a screened hut there for that purpose. I prefer to sit on the ledge. There’s a piece of granite that’s just the right angle and height to support me in a comfortable crouch position. Either the bugs are very much less this year, or my telling the insects, “This is a bug free zone and remember I’m the Quarry Queen, your steward,” is working out, quite well.

Climbing tower hill, returning home, I found a beige feather with wide brown stripes on it. Here’s a hint for you. You hear this bird at dusk and at night and it asks, “Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you now?”  This feather I could identify, as it belonged to a Barred Owl. We’ve been hearing them nightly, sometimes right outside our skylight over our bed.

While at the dowser’s convention, I heard stories of trips to Atlantis, lifetimes as dolphins, past lives as Egyptian queens and many other wild and wonderful tales from attendees. I could tell a few tales along those lines myself…What brings me great delight and what I most want to share with others though, is the small wonders of nature that one may encounter here at Light Heart Retreat.

No matter what your age is, there’s a child inside of you who longs to be surprised and delighted by nature’s gifts, large and small. If you’re a parent, one of the greatest gifts you can give your children is an appreciation of and experience in nature. David and I are looking forward to sharing the many small wonders of Light Heart Retreat with you and your family*. Bring your berry bucket or basket. The woods are full of blueberries. I picked three ripe ones on the causeway yesterday.

Blessings for the upcoming Summer Solstice, may it bring you plenty of sunshine, berries and cool breezes!

Joanna

*Since the removal of the Quarry House in 2014, Light Heart Retreat is primarily for adults. I do make some exceptions based upon ages, number of children and if it’s possible to accommodate your small family in one of the two cottages.