81 Chapters
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Have you been soaked by Maine’s Ol’ Faithful?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

Granite chasms don’t come much more renowned than this foaming sea pocket. And you’ll look long and hard to find one that speaks with its own basso profundo. Maine’s answer to Ol’ Faithful, it sits at the edge of a Down East island, where it gurgles and belches and occasionally blasts water into the sky. Like its counterpart at Yellowstone, it works on its own schedule and requires patience from its audience. When most people visit they find it quiet, the sea gently rocking in and out of the twisted cavern, and they wonder what all the fuss is about. When the surf and turf decide to put on a show, though, it’s a sight, one of the Pine Tree State’s great natural wonders. The waves leapfrog madly off the rocks, soaring as high as fifty feet in the air. They crash spectacularly with a resounding, earth-rocking thud (Thor would be proud), soaking everything in the vicinity, including anyone who might be standing near these railings. In summer that’s all great fun, and hordes line up to bathe in the spray. Come February it’s another thing altogether. The great irony is that one of the best times to view this particular attraction is on a blustery winter day, and that’s when the viewing platform here is usually empty. If there are flakes aplenty, snowmobilers and cross-country skiers, even the odd snowshoer, might have a look at the spectacle. If not, walkers and hardy hikers might wander down. Other than these and a handful of folks who work in the area, the only witnesses to the tempests of winter here are shorebirds. See page 101 to find out how to track it down.

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1. Dreidels to Dante’s Inferno: Toward a Typology of Religious Games · Jason Anthony

HEIDI CAMPBELL Indiana University Press ePub

Jason Anthony

ITS HARD TO IMAGINE TWO MORE DIFFERENT ARENAS THAN games and religion. Games strike us as a pleasant distraction, a space where amiable conflicts play out to a conclusion which, tomorrow, won’t matter much. Religious activity is clearly quite different. It calls for utmost seriousness and a minimum of conflict, and our commitment will yield consequences that can last a lifetime – or longer, depending on the views we hold on eternity.

So goes the conventional wisdom. Yet games and religion share a long, rich, and intertwined history, even in the digital age. Consider a brief snapshot of the events at the 2011 Game Developers Conference. The world’s top designers, developers, and game studios have gathered to discuss the state of their art. Design guru and director of the NYU Game Center Frank Lantz steps up to the podium. In a highly anticipated talk, he advocates at length for the “sublime” in games. He explains that the venerable game of Go held a place in Confucian practice, and asks why poker and other complex games could not attain a similar stature: “Why can’t a video game be a spiritual discipline?” And he continues: “I want more video games that give me a space in which to entangle my mind with the mysterious infinite secrets of the universe. And this doesn’t have to be precious. Poker proves that it can have something vulgar and violent and dirty and shameful and dangerous and addictive. And if it’s deep enough, it can slingshot you all the way around to new orbits of insight and higher levels of consciousness.”1

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Where in Maine?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

For the better part of two decades the editors of Down East: The Magazine of Maine have asked our readers to play a game with us. We publish a stunning photograph of a unique location in the Pine Tree State — sometimes instantly recognizable, sometimes not — and drop a few hints about the historical or geological anomalies of this special place. Then we invite our readers to guess where it is by writing us a letter. We also ask them to tell us a little about their own personal connection to this unidentified corner of the Maine landscape. Have they ever visited this waterfall? Do they own a cottage on this island?

To say that “Where in Maine?” is the most popular feature in Down East is like calling the view from Cadillac Mountain “pleasant:” an understatement of the highest order. We receive more mail for these short items than other magazines receive for entire issues. The responses range from one-line emails — “It’s Perkins Cove in Ogunquit!” — to long, handwritten letters recounting childhoods enjoyed on the pictured shores of Sebago Lake or summers spent at the family cottage overlooking this exact view of Monhegan Harbor.

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Have you ever strolled this sand?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

The obvious question is: Where are all the people? It’s rare that this stretch of coastline is so quiet that there isn’t someone enjoying the sands. There’s almost always a beach stroller, shell seeker, sandcastle builder, or sunbather on this, one of the state’s most popular beaches. That’s the way it’s been here since the Pilgrims were splashing in the surf to the south — even longer, according to local historians. Englishmen first stepped ashore on this curve of the midcoast in 1607, more than a decade before the founding of the Plymouth Bay Colony, and the same year as the settlement of Jamestown. Of course, they were gone months later, after erecting a small fort, a church, and some fifty houses. They also built the first boat ever constructed in what would become Maine — the fifty-foot pinnace Virginia. But they found winter Down East just wasn’t for them – so they abandoned fame, fortune, and future reenactment villages to the Jamestownians and the Mayflower Pilgrims and left everything else to archaeologists. In recent years, local partisans have made the case that the first Thanksgiving in the New World was enjoyed right here, but the people of Plymouth, Massachusetts, with their rock and their cute costumes, didn’t buy it. The only pilgrims the beach sees now are the summer-loving, sun-worshipping kind. And boy, do they come — some 180,000 visit each year. The 529-acre site is famous for its dunes, its cold waters, its rivers, and undertows — and its difficult parking. Striped bass fishermen flock here as well, and movie stars like Paul Newman and Kevin Costner once spent a few days in the vicinity. With the 3,640-foot expanse of sand, the islands offshore, the surf crashing, the boats passing by, it’s not hard to understand the appeal. See page 99 to learn more about this sandy spot.

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Have you ever driven over this bridge?

Andrew Vietze Down East Books ePub

Surrounded by a panorama of leaves that seem almost enthusiastic in their glow, and suspended far above one of the state’s most powerful rivers, this bridge neatly frames the antique steeples and spires of a white-clapboarded Yankee village, seemingly embraced by the forest. It’s a scene not easily forgotten — but it looks a little different today. Although the lofty span may seem infinite to gephyrophobes, it’s only the state’s sixth longest, on a well-traveled interstate route not far from the city that calls itself the gateway to the North Woods, and a stone’s throw from one of Maine’s most historic sites. Perhaps you stopped in this small, photogenic community of five thousand for a night or two at the town’s venerable inn? If so, you were in good company, historically speaking. The hostelry is one of the nation’s oldest, with a guest register that has been signed by a host of key figures in the history of the United States — Presidents Jackson, Tyler, Van Buren, and Harrison, as well as Jefferson Davis and Daniel Webster — most of whom came to the area to settle a border dispute with the British. Things were tense again a few years ago, when a small grassroots group stared down and ran out of town a corporation bent on building an enormous coal-fired power plant. There is already a pair of imposing smokestacks on the skyline here; the townspeople made it clear they didn’t want any others. The paper mill at the base of one of those stacks — and the river that flows beside it — provide the economic backbone for the community and many of its neighbors. Look for this view today, of course, and you’ll have a tough time. An equally impressive connector runs through here now — but this stately span remains. See page 101.

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