Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Tourists say the darndest things!

This happened a few weeks ago but I forgot about it until a today when I was looking at the rose bushes that surround the Pond House.

So, I'm standing at the Information window on the outside. I was working in the parking lot that day, but there wasn't much going on so I was talking to my supervisor, Thor, and my co-worker, an older woman named Edie. Suddenly this young couple in their twenties walks up to the window and says, "Excuse me, we were wondering what these large, blueberry-type things were. We've never seen anything like them. Are they a type of blueberry?" I looked over towards the parking lot where they were pointing.

"Do you mean the tall-bush blueberries in the middle of the parking lot?" (We have an island in the middle of the parking lot where some trees and different shrubs are planted. One is a hybrid, tall-bush blueberries that are absolutely tasteless but are rather on the large side.)

"No, no, the bushes right along the side of the building here. They have large, round orange balls on them. They look just like blueberries." I was still confused and had no idea where to look or what they were talking about. They were pretty excited about it though.

"Sorry, I'm still not sure what you're talking about."

"They're right here, they look just like blueberries, but they're bigger and orange, and grow on the rose bushes." (I kid you not, they actually said that they grow on rose bushes and couldn't figure it out.)

"Oh, well, the ones that look like small tomatoes? Those are rose buds. That's why they grow on rose bushes. Blueberries are about this big," I made the size with my fingers, "and are..."

"I know what blueberries look like," says the young man, and he turns back to listen to Eddie explain to him that the rose buds are what they are looking at. (Exactly what I had just told him.) I kept thinking to myself, "Well, obviously you don't, since you just said that the tomato-looking buds that grow on the ROSE BUSHES looked just like blueberries and that you couldn't think of any other thing they could possibly be!" It was extremely funny, and the three of us had a good laugh about it afterwards.

Ahhhh... I love my job!

Sunday, August 28, 2005


First things first: I do not like heights. Ask anyone, especially the Benson boys, who never tired of pointing out how everyone else would jump off the Grotto walls while I stayed on the rock in the middle. There are certain heights I've never had a big problem with. Climbing trees, scrambling around on Otter Cliffs, and even hiking, for the most part, is fine, as long as there are some trees around so that I don't have to look at the base of the mountain.

Today I decided that it would be a great Sabbath activity to go hiking the Jordan Cliffs Trail up to the top of Penobscot mountain and then taking the Penobscot Trail back down. It would give me time to pray, read my scriptures, sing some hymns, and just get away from the usual filth of every-day life. I've already hiked to the top of Penobscot and down the Jordan Pond North-Shore Trail, so I knew I could do that much. It was the Cliffs I had never laid eyes on before. But I thought to myself, how hard could it be? People do it all the time! And besides, I'll be able to tell people what it's like easier if I actually hike it. So off I went, all on my lonesome, which is a very stupid idea if you've never done a trail before, but I figured since I couldn't find anyone to go with me I would just have to deal with it. Like I said, stupid.

It was a beautiful day! A clear, bright, August afternoon. The sun was behind Penobscot which made it nice and cool since I was walking in the shade until I got to the top of the mountain. I took a backpack with a water bottle, a light vest, scriptures, True to The Faith, my hymnal and a notepad. It sounds like a lot, but really it was very light. Near the beginning of the trail I found a very peaceful spot on a rock off to the right of the trail over-looking the pond. I read some out of True to The Faith, and sang some hymns. Fifteen minutes later I got going again. It was a great trail. Pretty easy and empty of all other hikers.

Then I came to the sign: CAUTION: STEEP TRAIL WITH EXPOSED CLIFFS, LADDERS, AND FIXED IRON RUNGS. Being me I said to myself, I'll be fine. I've been hanging out at Otter Cliffs from the time I was 9. And off I went.

Still, it was a wonderful trail. Leading quietly through the woods, shadowy, and mossy and glorious. Then I came to the rocks. They ware very bare rocks. Very rocky rocks. Very scary rocks. I'm a tree person, I hate rocks. I thought about turning back but decided to climb up to the level above me (there were no ladders at this point; I was rock-climbing... On rocks). When I did I found that the view was great and right ahead the trail went back into the woods. It was beautiful. So I continued.

In the woods I began to automatically hike upwards. Whenever I came to a fork I would simply choose whatever went up... I always knew I was going in the right way because of the markers I would continue seeing around each corner even if I wasn't paying attention at the forks. At one point there was a fork that went down towards some rocks, or up through some trees. The path into the trees was vague, but it went upwards (which made sense) and it went through some trees (which made me feel safe). Right before I made the mechanical decision to go upwards I saw out of the corner of my eye a vivid blue, vertical line on a tree - a trail marker. It was going down to the rocks. If there's one thing my parents taught me it was follow instructions. "Mallory, read that recipe through before you start." "Mal, you should probably read the instructions before you start on that project." Not that I always followed those words of wisdom... In fact I rarely did. But in this case I did, and just kept saying to myself, "It's been proven to work. People do this trail all the time. They're still alive. Rocks are okay. This trail's been proven to work!"

I was doing fine now, even on the rocks, until I came to my first ladder. Ladders. LADDERS. Suddenly those cliffs looked so much bigger than before. I'm talking "The Cliffs of Insanity!". I clung to those rungs and ladders like a baby to it's mother after a cool shower. I could feel my feet slip slightly once in a while, mostly because they were shaking a little. Again, I thought seriously of turning back. I knew I could do what I had just done. But I really didn't want to have to turn back when I was so close. Just take it slow, take it slow. It's been proven to work.

I finally came to the top of the Cliffs. Again, I went off to a quiet place and sat looking out over the magnificent view. The sun on my back with a soft breeze. A song. A prayer. Peace.

Monday, August 22, 2005


HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!!!! This is my gift to Sam "The Man" and Eden "Peanuty", since their birthdays are today and tomorrow. (Or actually tomorrow and the next day if you're going by Eastern Standard Time, but I'm not!) So, yeah, since I couldn't actually send them anything for their birthdays, I figured I'd write some sweet stuff about them!

SAM: Sam's pretty cool... you know, for a sixteen year old. I even found myself annoying at that age, so that's saying something! He's wicked funny! I just got off the phone with him about an hour ago. Man! We had each other cracking up over the funny things Eden was asking for her birthday, which lead us to laughing over Indian curry for and Chamorro empanada's for Indian and Chamorro Thanksgivings... long story, I'll touch on it later! Yeah, so we had a good time. The great thing about Sam is that I've really been able to watch him grow up. I remember spending late nights in the boys' room late at night, usually after Ezra was already asleep, and we would talk about everything and anything! Usually it would turn to who likes whom if Jake had anything to say about it! But we talked about a lot of stuff, and had fun doing it! If Dad ever found us he would send us out so that we wouldn't wake up Ezra, not that you could wake the kid up with a train whistle! But if we ever were kicked out, the boys would usually run in to my room and jump on my nicely-made bed and kick off their shoes and make themselves comfortable. See, it didn't matter if I did that in their room, because you really couldn't make their room much worse! But in my room it was terrible evident that something was out of place. Ah well, the point is I love Sam, he's a pretty cool kid!

SAM'S THEME SONG: "Teenage, Mutant Ninja Turtles" It's always been the cartoon I've associated with him, so naturally the song just fits!

EDEN: What a sweety!!! "She reminds me o' me!" as the great John Wayne would've said. She's a funny one too! She actually told Dad that since she couldn't get the bike she wanted for her birthday she wanted a car instead. When Mum asked her what she wanted for her birthday dinner she suggested "that meal with the big bird and potatoes and everything" (a.k.a. Thanksgiving Dinner). So, yeah, my six-year-old sister is getting a mini-Thanksgiving for her birthday! GOOD GRIEF! Anyway, like I said, natural cutie! In fact, Lexi was just telling me last Sunday that Eden was gonna be one of those really irresistable girls that all the guys would be in love with but too intimidated to say anything to. In Lexi's opinion it's kind of sweet. In my opinion that kind of sucks! But she'll just have to deal with it I guess!

EDEN'S THEME SONG: "I'm Cute!" - Dot Animaniac. She just is! ;)

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Things I Sometimes Wish I Could Change About Myself

Okay, I know I can change whatever I want about myself, but these are things that I wish I could change about myself, but not sure that I want to because some people say that they make me who I am while others tell me that they are slightly annoying... I dunno... whatever.

1) To be quiet and reflective more often. Now, some may say that that's a pretty good idea, but others would say that my outgoing, excited nature is fun. I think that I could be more reflective and quiet, but I also think that I'm pretty well grounded in things that I would ponder about. Hmmm.....

2) To not think so much about trivial things. This is definitely something I need work on. I'm not even asking for an opinion on this one.

3) To control my temper. Again, not asking for an opinion on this one.

4) To not be so clumsy. Like before, some people actually think that this is a fun part of my nature. I must admit that I get a good laugh every time I trip going upstairs or run into something or someone. (3 people all within a 15 minute period today at the end of church. Smooth.) But I also think it'd be kind of nice to be graceful and slick. I'm not even sure I can change this one.

Well, that's all I can really think of right now. Feel free to add to the list if you think there's some improvement I can make!

Friday, August 05, 2005

"The Dark, Sacred Night"

This is cool! A couple of nights ago four of us went to Sand Beach. (It's a natural beach of sand and the only one on the island. I mean, like real sand, not sand-and-rocks like the rest of them.) Anyway, yeah, so we had just gotten back from Batman Begins (good movie) and I noticed how starry it was. When I came inside I suggested that we go outside and look at the stars, but it was too bright near the dorm so Kyle suggested that we all get in her car and we'd go to Sand Beach. It was Kyle, Paulina, Emil, and me. When we got there Kyle said the first thing we had to do was put our feet in the water. I said she was nuts and kept my boots on. There was no way I was putting my feet in that chilly Atlantic water and then laying on the beach to allow the cold sea breeze to freeze them solid. (In fact Kyle was the only one who did.)

Anyway, so when Kyle was running up to the shoreline we heard her shout, "The phosphorus is out!" So we all ran up (with our shoes on) and witnessed one of the coolest things God put on the earth. As the waves peaked and crashed against the sand we could see them light up with little sparks, and they would leave the small chunks of phosphorus on the beach. It was really cool, and really pretty.

In fact, that whole night was really pretty and glittery. Aside from the phosphorus there were two lighthouses we could see blinking off in the distance, mars glowing red above the mountains, the vast Milky Way stretched out across the middle of the sky, and lots of shooting stars. I don't know what it is about Maine, but there has always been tons of shooting stars. Kyle saw the most, but I saw a lot too. Emil only saw 3 I think. At least that's what he says. I don't really know how you miss so many!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

An Acadian Story

So, yesterday was our dorm-mom's birthday. Just so you know, our dorm-mom's name is Maisie. She's the one in charge of us, she feeds us, she cleans up after us, and she makes sure the rangers across the road get a good night sleep instead of coming over here to talk about keeping the evening peace. She has a dorm assistant and two dorm aides, but if it weren't for Maisie, I don't know what we'd do. We really are lucky to have her.

So like I was saying, she turned 50 yesterday. The dorm assistant, Amy, had put together plans to surprise her. She got a bunch of us together to go on a carriage ride and if we each paid a few extra dollars, we could pay for Maisie as well. It was something Maisie had always wanted to do. I almost decided not to go, but now I'm glad I did.

When we drove up to the stables, Maisie said, "Oh, I see! We're going for a ride!" It was really fun; we took lots of pictures. The Acadia National Park has 57 miles of carriage roads, automobile free, made especially for biking, walking, and horseback riding. Wildwood Stables is the only National Park concession that provides carriage rides in the United States.

The roads really are an engineering masterpiece. They were commisioned, primarily designed, supervised, and donated to the national park by John D. Rockefeller, Jr. There are 16 cut-granite bridges and 1 cobblestone bridge, all unique in design and structure. The roads have a granite foundation underneath the dirt and crushed stone that make up the top. This would have caused a BIG drainage problem, had not Rockefeller designed a flawless drainage system that not only works, but will never stop working. There is an engineered rockslide. It's amazing, and to imagine someone building it so that it would be safe for generations to come is astounding.

The carriage roads of Acadia National Park are beautiful. They are some of my favorite parts of the island. They truly are a reminder that the people that lived here before really loved the area so much that they gave it away. Hill by hill, brook by brook, and tree by tree, every acre of Acadia National Park was donated to the government by people who loved Eden so much, they wanted to share it with the world.