Fifty four years ago, a woman named Rachel Carson startled the world with a series of articles in The New Yorker magazine called “Silent Spring.” It was the wake-up call that led to the banning of DDT as an insecticide and saved millions of song birds from extinction.
In spite of the temperatures this week and the snow on the daffodils, we are greeted each morning with a dawn chorus symphony in celebration of the time-honored rites of spring. (Reminding of so many mornings on the boat, opening the hatch to Robert J. Lurtsema’s “Morning Pro Musica” on WGBH radio and the recorded “Dawn Chorus” of birdsong and Bach.) The liquid song of the robins and the “creaky gate” of red-wing blackbirds now mixes with the spring “call-and-response” of the chickadees, the twittering gold finches and the sharp whistle of the pair of cardinals who like to hang out in the top branches of the apple orchard.
The sound of wind in the spruces is always backed by the brassy seagulls, summer or winter. And there are red-tailed hawks who silence all the others with a sound shadow that extends past their eagle-eyed soar over their “breakfast buffet” of mice and chipmunks.
What we do here at Spruce Point Inn is conserve the sights and sounds of this waterfront oasis to encourage the love of the resounding spring (summer and fall) we share not only as innkeepers but as Boothbay Harbor neighbors, Maine citizens and stewards of the authentic places we call home. A full generation has grown up appreciating the world Rachel Carson and the Rachel Carson Wildlife Refuge in nearby Wells helped save.
We heard the other day that lab studies of mice have determined that silence in their lives helps grow the cells in the hippocampus center of imagination in their brains. The test offered a choice between a riot of sound and distraction and complete silence. We think, however (like studies from the time of Florence Nightingale),that the best inspiration would not be complete silence but the “silence” of a woodland path, like ours: a quietude of solace where time slows down to let the rustling, bird-song, gentle waves of this place emerge.
We know one thing for sure: visitors come from Spruce Point and the Mid-coast as changed people – rested, relaxed and inspired by their “oceanside memories made in Maine.”