Arcadia

I probably spent more time trying to come up with a clever title for this blog entry than I will spend writing it. You see, I dipped my toes in Acadia National Park today, and I really like the name ‘Acadia’ and I have two cultural touchstones that I associate with it: the song ‘Acadian Driftwood’ by The Band, and two baroque era paintings by Poussin titled ‘Et in Arcadia ego’. But though I labored over the possibilities, neither have much to do with what I have to say about Acadia Park. The nearest I could get is: The Band’s song title could easily be applied to the ragged influx of seasonal help that comes for the tourist season; Poussin’s paintings touch on the mythical land of Arcadia (Acadia is a latter day corruption of Arcadia), the land of plenty, and while Acadia Park does not appear to produce much in the way of foodstuffs, it is bursting at the seams with beauty. And I mean really magnificent, jawdropping beauty. The sort that is so sweeping and dramatic that even the most desensitized product of our image-inundating media culture must pause and take notice. So I guess the Park is the center that draws this diverse crowd together. It’s a powerful place.

But Poussin’s paintings are about death. Their point is that Arcadia is an Earthly paradise, and even there, death must surely come. So, I’m going to give Acadia National Park an endorsement I’ve never given before: see it before you die.

As for me, I have the next four days with it, and I’m already certain it isn’t enough. I’m camping with dad and Diane in the RV from here on, and their RV park is a 17 mile commute to the park, one way. But I plan to make it, and ride and hike as much as I can each day before we head south for Monticello.

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