Living Deliberately.

I’m reading Baron Wormser’s (former poet laureate of Maine) memoir (I guess strictly speaking it’s a memoir, though it’s not so narrowly me-me-me), The Road Washes Out in Spring, which is about the 20-odd years he lived with his family in the woods in Maine without electricity, running water, or any modern conveniences whatsoever. 

(It’s also when he began writing poetry.  Perhaps there’s a correlation, but he points out that he happened to have a few days alone when his wife took their 2 kids for a family visit, so he tried his hand at writing poems, and it turned out that he had something to say.) 

I’m enjoying it quite a bit, though it meanders, so my attention wanders, and I think what I’d really like to have on hand is a book of his poems.  Also, while he explains the appeal of roughing it very well, and is also quite open about how difficult it is, and his reasons for living this way are refreshingly non-polemic–well, I’m having flashbacks to my first winter in my house (the one I finally managed to unload this summer so I could move to these bucolic hills).

 From the ides of January till the ides of April that year, I had no running water.  I did have heat, which is the only thing that kept me sane–no running water means no water–no hot water, no cold water, no toilet, no shower, nothing.  That was bad enough.  But can you imagine waking up every frigid Maine winter morning and having to stoke the fires, before you can do anything else?  And having to use an outhouse in sub-zero temps, in the dark??  (He mentions early on that this is always the detail that is the dealbreaker.) 

 They live elsewhere in Maine now, and I’m pretty sure, wherever it is, they have toilets.

4 responses to “Living Deliberately.”

  1. I remember those days of no water and I still don’t understand how you made it through . . . BTW, excellent poetry reading last night. It was kind of magical to sit in Mocha Maya’s listening to poems while the whole world froze outside.

  2. Frankly, I don’t either–but I didn’t have a choice, unlike Mr. Wormser!

    I’m so glad you were able to come last night–what a great crowd, eh? Braving the tundra for poetry!

  3. Hi Marie,
    Just stopped by your blog off of Wom-po. I’m reading the Wormser’s memoir as well, and I bought his collection “Subject Matters” as well, and “A Surge of Language” (since I am a high school English teacher). I lived for a little over a year with no water, inside toilet, etc., in the woods outside of Homer, Alaska. Now that we live in a house with all of the frills (in a different, tinier town in Alaska), I feel like I’m living large!

    Welcome to Wom-Po!

  4. Oh my, I bet you do!

    Thank you, Erin, for stopping by & reading & commenting–and thank you for the warm welcome–I’m so glad to have been introduced to Wom-Po, you all are so tremendously kind!


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