Do you have an island of your own, a place you can escape to?
This is my private island. My getaway from the world. Though there are countless streams of visitors to the National Park, here the tall and fragrant pines murmur only to me. The glacier carved valleys grant me seclusion and uninterrupted vistas of the clear Atlantic waters. The rugged coastal hills beckon only to me with their secret spots for fishing. The rocky terrain reveals its hiking trails for my discovery. This is my Acadia.
On Island Time
Ever since my first visit to Mount Desert Island, I have had a hankering for archipelagos. There is a sense of freedom in the feeling of solitude that an island brings to me. Surrounded by water, seemingly cut off from the rest of civilization, the island represents the essentials of life. Mount Desert is not an uninhabited spot in the middle of nowhere, but its acres of evergreens and coal colored coastline give me the feeling of being isolated. Running through the woods and walking along the shore, I imagine I am a castaway. Camping at Blackwoods, I practice my survival skills by identifying poisonous plants, navigating through the forest, and telling time by the sky. With nature as my only companion, I discover my true instincts, both practical and philosophical.
Nature’s Cure All
Mount Desert’s Acadia National Park provides an inviting oasis for introspection when life becomes too much of a thoughtless march for me. In Acadia, whether I am trekking up to the summit of Cadillac Mountain or relaxing in a secluded beach cove, the hardiness that is quintessentially New England reminds me there is more to life than the ceaseless drone. Acadia’s winter mist-drenched shoreline, its spring time bevy of wild goldthread and starflower blooms, its steel grey autumn mornings, and mossy summers help remove my everyday blinders to the works of nature. The aroma of spruce fir as I tread along the Great Head Trail, the sight of a green crab peeking out from a tidal pool, and the bright pop of color from fog-shrouded maple and beech trees cures my anxiety and dissipates my mental fatigue.
Acadia, with its rocky promontories and its sculpted ridges of granite, is the idyllic place to escape from the realities of modern life stuffed with the minutiae of endless tasks, to do lists, and domestic drudgery. Yet, it is also a place that teaches the fundamentals of life. In Acadia, I can learn how to live deliberately, as Henry David Thoreau admonished his readers to do. I can shake off everything but the most Spartan necessities, reduce living to its core. While I haven’t built myself a wood cabin or planted a bean field for sustenance, staying in and exploring Acadia National Park has allowed me to obtain some measure of self-reliance. The simpler life of my days on Desert Island have made me appreciate the abundance of conveniences in my everyday life but also desire the quiet fortitude that living in wilderness provides. If I am not answering the exigent calls of society, it is because I have taken myself to the transcendent harmony of Acadia.
In 1524, explorer Giovanni Verrazano sailed by the island off the coast of Maine and found it an idyllic and virescent spot. He named it Arcadia after a district in the Peloponnesian region of Greece. This secluded and pastoral setting was exalted by Renaissance artists as the ideal for unspoiled wilderness beauty. Acadia National Park, with its boreal forests, glacier derived shoreline, and nutrient rich lakes shares the paradisiacal qualities of the once fabled Greek land.