Axis mundi awaiting discovery
On April 6, 1909, Admiral Robert Peary, his African-American partner Matthew Henson, four Inuit Ootah, Egigingwah, Seegloo and Ooqueah arrived – as close as they could determine, pre-GPS – at the North Pole.
We mention this because the slow-to-arrive spring puts us in mind of what it must have been like at the farthest-north reaches. And because further reading of Howard Mansfield’s essays has us thinking about the “axis mundi”. As he reminds us, the term means center (or pole) of the world for the place one cared most about.
For us, and for so many of you who post to TripAdvisor and tell us when you call to make those family vacation reservations, this place (Lat 43o 49.9’N/ Lon 69o 37.5′ W) at Spruce Point is the axis mundi that gives you back the world of everything you care most about.
It seems there’s something in the human spirit that draws us back to certain places. As our Brunswick scholar-soldier Joshua Chamberlain put it, “Something abides.” And Maine is the rock solid ground upon which such concepts endure. One of the oldest parts of the country, based on the 1.5 billion-year geological evidence of worn-down mountains, and one of the first to encounter the meeting between the indigenous “People of the First Light” and the fishermen, explorers and colonists who mapped their bearings Down East, Maine is the sort of place that to paraphrase Robert Frost (it’s National Poetry Month, after all!), “when you have to go there; they have to take you in.”
The painterly Maine visions of Marsden Hartley, a member of the Ogunquit Art Colony, are currently the focus of an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Two new Andrew Wyeth retrospectives on the occasion of what would have been his 100th year is up at the Farnsworth Museum in Rockland. The Peary-MacMillan Arctic Museum at Bowdoin, also in Brunswick, reminds us all over again of the fraught and fragile nature of the arctic world and its polar bears.
Here at Spruce Point, an axis mundi for family, friendship and reassuring familiarity awaits your discovery. Opening Weekend is May 19-22.