Alright, I confess…there was so much going on in Maine, I have an entire page in my states notes dedicated to “stuff we missed in Maine.”
Feeling somewhat sorry for not having found the water story we were hoping for, we left Maine and went on to NH, where we stopped at only our second hotel of the trip, a little inn in Gorham, touted to have internet. As luck would have it, like many web “connections” we are encountering on this trip, their internet was somehow not accessible by any of our computers. (sigh.) We dined at a next door restaurant where the waiter kindly aided us in our quest for no trash, and we hit the sack.
The next day Ben was geared up to go to the top of Mt. Washington, which has the highest recorded windspeeds in America, 3 x higher than most hurricanes! Mark had much to do and was really wanting to move on so that he could connect to the web, and I was super-behind on blogging, so we kind of decided we’d try to find internet somewhere in Gorham and Ben might go to the mountaintop by himself, which he was not at all keen on. As luck would have it, we drove and drove and drove around that little town and were not able to connect anywhere. So little Rachel hauled all three of us up the mountaintop chug chug chugging in low gear, as recommended by the Parks Dept. Definitely the worst gas mileage we have gotten on this trip. And pretty freakin windy at the top. Weren’t no 212 mph but Mark had to hold his hat on some.
And here’s the interesting thing: All that time spent looking for internet, etc. kept us basically in the same area of NH all day, when we would have otherwise high-tailed it out of there. And just about the time we were finally giving up the ghost and heading for Mt Washington, a man named Jim Wilfong called us saying he would love to meet with us to talk about the Nestle bottling water controversy. We had tried to reach him days earlier but he was not available. We hedged for nearly 2 seconds about backtracking (being technically already in NH) but then Jim suggested meeting in Fryeburg, ME, the town whose water rights now belong to Nestle and Poland Springs, and where much of the struggle centered. So we happily drove down that mountain, repairing our mpg (only a little) while cooking our brakes on the descent, and made a beeline for Fryeburg, Jim Wilfong, and the Androscoggin River. (video to follow soon!) Jim’s essays are well worth reading and can be found online at www.onthecommons.org.
We left Jim and his son, Christian, and booked it to Bow, NH, where family friend Kerry Reed waited up and set us up in an office off their family’s horse barn. (Thank you, Kerry!) I will say that composting our apple cores was super easy at this house, since that is horseys‘ favorite snack! And I also happen to love the smell of horse barns so that worked out super well for me.
Since NH is the first state to have the primaries, Mark felt pretty sure that we should try for some politicians who might already be campaigning, so we put out calls but the returns were slow in coming, so we pursued other avenues.
Saturday was spent with the lovely and bright Denise Blaha, UNH researcher and founder of NH Carbon Challenge, which she directs with her colleague, Julia Dundorf. Together they are challenging New Hampshirites (anyone know how to spell that?) to lose 10,000 pounds this year each. Of carbon, that is. And they have spelled out just how to do it. It won’t take huge lifestyle changes, says Denise, but it will take effort. Living as we have been for the last decade will not support the population explosion we are encountering. We simply will not be able to sustain this many people unless we change the way we live on earth. All of us.
We agree! So, Sunday, we joined the NH March for Climate in Concord (aka the Reenergize New Hampshire campaign)(find at www.climatesummer.org) to add our feet to the many students and residents in support of a sustainable future. But not before my flipflops finally broke down to the point that i couldn’t actually keep them on my feet without crimping my toes. (see shoes in my hand) WAAAAaaaaa. Enter hostess to the rescue! Kerry literally gave me the shoes right off her feet, right there in the driveway, saying our goodbyes as they headed off to church. (She did not go to church barefooted though, lest you are wondering.) I am so super grateful! I have been wearing them ever since, so they are well-loved already, and will be my constant companions as long as global warming allows…which hopefully won’t be January.
The march itself was lively and heartening. Once I got my daily dose of java, we changed into our YERT sherts and I waited back at the info tables in “Action Alley” (where we were invited to park Rachel Carson), proudly displaying YERT while the boys marched the final leg with the students and filmed marchers’ thoughts and antics… everyone gathered at the State House. There was music, there were banners, and hundreds of cloth flags bearing written promises and prayers for the Earth were carried and fastened to wire globes by a local artist. We heard quite a few speakers, including dynamic author Bill McKibben, who spoke with us on camera (video forthcoming) along with Congressman Paul Hodes. Bill joined students gathered on the lawn rapping about what we are all thinking – how to make the change we wish to see in the world. We felt so lucky to have been able to participate, we were able to leave NH feeling like we had at least added our voices to the many rising. Next: VT!