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Casting our own bronze age on the year

The oaks do their best. Tireless sentinels of the “forest primeval,” they seem to stand outside time in the pace of the turning year. Last to leaf out in the spring, they hold their leaves as if to last. As the showy maples have receded in the view along the river and coves, the oaks bronze the day, greeting dawn and dusk with glowing copper. Holding onto the light.

We, too, hold the days, trying to retain the shape and steps of the year that started such a short time ago. We want to bronze them for the mantelpiece of memory. That’s’ why we speak of the “oceanside memories made in Maine” here at Spruce Point Inn. We recognize the familiar desire to hold onto memories, the way Grandma Vi recognized a need in 1934 to memorialize a family’s most cherished moments by encasing the joy and laughter of a baby’s steps in a bronzed shoe.

The Bronze Age moved the Neolithic people of the forest into the next stage of civilization. Trading the tin from distant mines and mixing measured amounts of smelted ore into molten copper were the first steps of the global production economy we’ve grown accustomed to. We look at paths the Wabanaki walked from sea to forest to trade as the seasons turned, gazing on oaks and granite shores that have not substantially changed the outlook here on Linekin Bay. Then we review the 2016 reservations coming in on the computer that connects us all via satellites. Built of bits of tin, copper, cadmium and gold – star stuff harvested for a new age.

The oaks are our guardians of time, keeping bronzed watch on the days. Central even to the American iconography of liberty, the oaks and the tradition of Liberty Trees, grew to replace the Connecticut Charter Oak that symbolized British Authority in that colony. The Sons of Liberty, and generations of ideas that followed, rallied around Liberty Trees, honoring a succession of aged trees with new roots and branches, often oaks.

So as we pass the stately bronze keepers of the day, standing on the riverbanks on the way to “Grandmother’s house,” we will be reminded of history large and small, remembering to mine and smelt and blend the memories of this year in our human foundry to form a protective virtual bronze case around them all.