Thoughts from Places: Weld, ME

Ideally I would have written a “Thoughts from Places” post from the place I’m writing about, but without consistent internet access, that is a bit difficult and I suppose that is a good starting point.  And before I begin, yes I do realize the strangeness of using my laptop to write a blog post about technology.

Maine has always been a place for us to escape the everyday obsession with technology and enjoy nature at it’s finest, o and spend time with family.  Summer life is generally simpler on the lake. According to the 2000 census the town has a population on 402 (http://weld-maine.org/).  The town is so small that recently the town’s school was closed and converted into the SkoolHouse Variety Store because there were so few students, I found a website that says in 2002 there were 32 total students spread through grades K-6 (http://www.city-data.com/school/weld-elementary-school-me.html). So yeah, it’s a small town.  There are two places to get internet, the SkoolHouse Variety Store, and the library.  Many a time one can drive past the library and find a collection of people both in their cars and sitting on the steps with their laptops.

Cell phone service is hard to come by, sometimes you need to be standing in exactly the right spot balancing on one leg with your hand held straight out to the side.  I’m exaggerating, but not by much.  As strange as it seems to not be “connected to the outside world” it was actually really nice.  There was no need to be constantly checking your phone to see if you’ve missed a call or a text or checking your email (see previous post, it’s ridiculous how often I have dreams about sending emails).  Being without so much technology meant spending lots of time as a family enjoying nature.

There was mountain climbing, swimming, fires on the beach, boat rides, amazing sunsets, so many games of bananagrams, Heritage Day, and even a christmas theme-park.  Ultimately it was an amazing 10 days filled with nature and family and appreciating the simpler things in life and reflecting on the way we live.  It was a time to appreciate life in the mountains where the drinking water comes straight from a spring, movies cost $6, and the nearest grocery store is a half hour drive.

It was also a time to think about urbanization and the state of small towns with populations so small that the local school (with all of four rooms, I believe) is now closed; while being removed from technology is a nice vacation, it threatens the futures of small towns that are a fair driving distance away from large cities and centers of business.  Is it truly possible to be a part of the world while being removed from it?  I know 402 people make it work, but for how much longer can that last?

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