The spruce ‘forest primeval’ and the Ghosts of Christmas present

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was at his desk in Cambridge, far from his native Portland in January 1847 as he prepared to write “Evangeline,” the story-poem about the exile of the Acadians from Nova Scotia. Yet as the winter descends here on Spruce Point, it is easy to see our own spruces on the edge of the Atlantic in the lines, “This is the forest primeval, the murmuring pines and the hemlock… Loud from its rocky caverns, the deep-voiced neighboring ocean speaks…”

Maine is more than 80 percent forested and the deep traditions abound of Maine timbermen and the stands of tall spruces that grew when the ice receded. The calming stillness of those trees and the ever changing play of light on Linekin Bay are what centers us. We came to Spruce Point the same as so many guests, drawn by the allure of sea, sky, Yankee simplicity and the welcome mat of the place that calls itself “Vacationland.”

And now we’ve stayed, with a real sense that we’re here to help steward the wild places, the seascape and its habitat for puffins and whales and those trees. When Spruce Point was created as a lodge for railroad and lumbermen, they came for the fish and the fir trees and returned with a renewed sense that such places as these should be saved. Today’s visionaries, tireless “elves” conserving land trusts, trees and the built landscape of icons likelighthouses and the opera house, work at making Boothbay, Maine and the Gulf of Maine treasures for future visitors.

Like the ghosts of Christmas, we leave the Past for yesterday, keep a mindful eye on the Future and gaze at the spruces today. This December, each day at Spruce Point is a gift. Guess that’s why they call it the Present.