|Pemaquid Point, Maine|
I’m not alone in being one of those vacationers to Maine who spend their summer week there thinking, “Boy, it would be wonderful to live here.” Some people do grab a real estate guide and plop down money on a house, sure that they’re buying a little piece of paradise; an escape to a simpler, easier life among the pine trees and lighthouses of Maine.
Thank God I read Max Alexander’s book Man Bites Log: The Unlikely Adventures of a City Guy in the Woods, or I might have added my name to the white pages there.
Alexander is a former Hollywood/New York entertainment columnist who decided to trade in his fast-paced celebrity life for acreage in Maine where the state’s welcome sign promises a glimpse into 'The Way Life Should Be.'
Alexander wasn’t one of those people who is shocked to discover that living in a rural area is hard work; he was prepared for that. But through him, I realized how much I am not ready for a life wading through mud, chipping through ice, and having suspicious neighbors watching and waiting for me act like the out-of-stater I am.
Instead, Alexander gives us a look at how much he comes to embrace trading in his fast-paced work and deadlines for hours spent splitting logs and tapping maple trees for syrup. He runs for local government and goes door-to-door campaigning. He gets to know his neighbors, his family, his land, and in the process – himself.
He does not present life in Maine as less than idyllic. Rather, he presents it as a place to dig in and get your hands dirty and shape an existence there; something that I, and surely hundreds of other people, aren’t really committed to doing.
I loved living in Maine vicariously through Alexander's memoir. But Man Bites Log opened my eyes and helped me realize that while Maine is a fantastic place to vacation, it is not a place where I’d be happy living. I’ve picked out plenty of other vacation spots for that. J