On the coast of Maine as a white male things start to get polarized in a fairly unhealthy way. Coming from a minority city, the city of brotherly love, I have issues with this monocultural, monochromatic type of life. Which one of these is not like the other ones? That might be me. If it weren’t for the stark beauty of the cottage I live in and the hearts of the people I am able to surround myself with I do not know how I would have survived from May 2007 to the present.
I am beseiged by hard questions I must ask myself right now, career decisions are coming to head. As a carpenter I am easily affected by market shifts in the housing sector, one of the most vulnerable sectors to health of the nation’s economy. Originally I moved to Maine to find out if Architecture was the right thing for me. Having just come off of two years of pre-medical science that left me tip top for one field I quickly switched to another. The details of that journey and decision making process might be the topic of another blog.
Now I find myself learning hands-on about building from the ground up working in the field for a Harpswellian building firm 19 years in the making. Online steps in studying high-performance building and sustainable design have occured through the BAC, fulfilling the academic inside me. The prevalence of the history of new england building practices before the turn of the century and how buildings can still exist, healthily, 200 years later has been a wonderful culture to come across, something unplanned. Fortunately, the secret is not so secret, as it seems the Japanese knew why thousands of years ago since you can walk through some of the Pagoda’s from that time.
Building and crafting definitely find a spot in my soul, but now I see how easily jobs come and go on the monetary tide and it makes me think about better insulated industries. Seeing how many people lost pensions working for companies they did not even like, working there solely for the benefits makes me think about what I would do to make myself happy, and how ironic the situation seemed to be. My attention moves between writing, something I have truly enjoyed my entire life, and business, something I know I have inside of me. My parents may not have been great, affectionate, professorial role models but they did teach me something. When it comes to business you protect yours, work well with others, read people, be efficient and, most importantly, take it serious. I was bred for business yet have searched for Mount Olympus.
Again, I’m a mid-Atlantic city boy who’s looking for excitement and opportunity in the bogs of rural coastal Maine and think the tide has gone out. Diggin for clams, haulin traps and building stuff is about as standard fare as you can be. A year and change of being standard Maine is more than I can handle. In the end I learned a shit tonne about building from the ground up, alternative building methods and about material dynamics. Up here there are some pretty interesting folks. Intellectuals where you expect to find idiots, rednecks when you expect to find well-exposed people, and void where you’d hope to find that salinization line between the country and the city.
But it is getting late (it’s 10:40, I’m pretty lame) and I have to be up at a quarter to six. This early morning routine is something I need to break and I hope to not work another winter outside in Maine. Starting with a couple of tenets that are almost self-supporting I am not stressed andI look to establish my wants and goals in this next personal focusing.