Sunday, August 31, 2008

State Park Sabbath

High: 80° F
Low: 55° F
Conditions: Sunny and breezy
The fall semester began this week, which means the two bipeds in our house are spending a lot more time at school and a lot less time at home. When we are at the house, our noses are almost always buried in a dusty book. That’s mostly fine with Mouse and Leila Tov, who are content to curl up on our laps, whether or not we’re paying them any real attention. But a certain caninaturalist objects strenuously to the new arrangement and our renewed love affair with literary tomes.

Said caninaturalist likes to find interesting ways to express her disapproval, like shredding a bag of bread left on the kitchen counter or eating a leather-bound book, especially if the latter was published in 1867. And was on special loan from the library. Because it was so valuable. (Hey, look! Somebody glued rawhide to this set of old papers. Neat!).

Greg and I both hold all texts as sacred, so there isn't much else that evokes quite the heartache as a destroyed book. I would like to suggest that Ari knew this was not an appropriate demonstration of her feelings, but the gleeful way she brought me the remaining tattered pages suggests otherwise.

To make matters worse, replacing extremely rare books is not something that the salaries of two professors at scruffy little colleges can support. So, after a family meeting, we all decided that we need a new approach to the craziness of the academic year. Our solution? The State Park Sabbath.

We humans have sworn a pledge to take one day off a week. That means no work for which we get paid, no talk of jobs, no reading for anything other than pleasure, and no time spent on the computer for any purpose whatsoever. Admittedly, this project has been tried before and didn’t meet with great success. But this year is different.

In the spirit of substance recovery programs, we have finally admitted we have an addiction problem. We’ve also decided we can’t be in the vicinity of our addiction triggers (e.g., books and computers) if our resolve is going to stick. So we’ve decided to take each Saturday and visit a different park or hiking trail in the state. There, we can't be taken in by the allure of grading student responses to Thoreau. Or the siren-song of answering emails about committees and exciting new policies regarding the transfer of credit hours.

First up? Our very favorite swimming hole in the whole wide world: Lake St. George.

This fantastic park has plenty of hiking trails and beaches, along with a great old homestead seen in the title shot of this post. We really like to stroll and sit and read here. But what we really, really love is a secret swimming spot just past the state park at the southern end of the lake.

There, a series of granite outcroppings form the perfect ledges for lounging. And the water is so perfectly clear and cold in the lake that you feel like you’ve taken a very expensive mineral bath after you've gone swimming in it (we actually know people who drink from this pond). It’s the perfect place for a destructive dog and two work-addicted humans to spend a day.

It also doesn’t hurt that Lake St. George is right next to what could arguably be the best ice cream stand in the entire world.

John’s Ice Cream uses all local cream and fruit. And they have groovy flavors, too, like chocolate with candied orange peel, peach-ginger, Grapenuts, and two of our favorites: pumpkin and apple pie.

We may disagree with Ari about the sanctity of books and the allotment of weekday time, but the three of us are in perfect agreement: there isn’t a better way to spend a late summer day in all the world.

Friends, as Gustav bears down on New Orleans, folks are evacuating the region--and this time, authorities are letting them bring their animal friends with them. We found an interesting clip on about evacuations for the canines in New Orleans and a similar story on Check it out, and consider donating to the New Orleans rescue associations.


Khyra The Siberian Husky said...

It must have been a bookworm that khaused Ari to do THAT!

What beaWOOtiful scenery!!

AND THE ICE KHREAM flavours: yummi!!!

Our paws are khrossed fur all those khontending with Gustav -


Island Rambles Blog said...

Hi kathryn and ari, naughty ari slobbering and gleefully shredding the things you most love...books!!! Thats why she did it probably,....good idea about taking a day off each week and the pictures of the lake are yummy like icecream.

Prayers for those facing Gustav.

China said...

Lake St. George park is one of my favorites too, Ari! Too bad we didn't go today. We could have said hello.

My humans don't like it when I chew on books either.

Kess And Her Mama said...

Hmmm...It took a chewed up rare book to introduce this the State Park Sabbath. I guess it worked... It really is a good thing to explore the finer points of living!

The Army of Four said...

What a great pledge to make! And a gorgeous state park! What could be better?! Oh.... that ice cream! Mmmmmm!
Tail wags,

Sitka, Tia, & Cornelia Marie said...

Wow! The state part is amazing!!! Such beautiful things to look at! YUMMMM Ice Cream.

Tracey and Huffle said...

Ari certainly knows how to make her point! I am purring for everypup and kitty in the path of Gustav too.

Huffle Mawson, Honorary Husky and Explorer Cat

D'Azul Siberian said...

Shredding books, hmmmmmm. The Angels shredded mom's big Atlas she uses to travel with. But none of us have shredded such a special book. On the bright side, it got results, very cool walkies and ice cream. WTG Ari.

D'Azul, Where Siberians Rule

Maverick the Pirate said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Maverick the Pirate said...

Harrrrr Ari
dont shred the books that might cost you cookies Harrrrr.
Cap'n Maverick the Pirate

Lorenza said...

Looks like Ari has a very interesting way to show her disapproval! Sorry about the book!
Glad you had a nice time there and with ice cream! Yummy!
Kisses and hugs

Blue said...

Just been catching up...
And, enjoyed doing so - I love Ari's take.

After an absence of a WHOLE five days I'm back blogging...

Best wishes, pats & pets

JB's Big World said...

You have some wonderful places to visit. Sorry we have not been by lately....lots to do with the move still...and hope my mom can help me more soon! We have missed your posts.
Oh, my daddy went to Oahu.....he is a captain for american airlines, and has layovers there now sometimes.

sugarcreekstuff said...

An old valuable book shredded and why am I laughing?
You are the straitman and Ari is the comic genius.

Steve, Kat, & Wilbur said...

This is a great idea, especially if it includes ice cream.


YourFireAnt said...

Oh, poor Ari! And what a good solution. I've noticed that various of my own canine pals have the same objection to my reading or computering. But none is high enough off the ground to reach anything on a table [thankgod]. Niles [the Sussex spaniel], e.g., makes good use of his nose to let me know when I'm reading too much, or even laughing too hard. Old Carrie [Skipperke/mix] doesn't like when I talk on the phone, and she lets me know by using nose, paws and anything else she can find.

I read your post with interest, and now I want to go to that ice cream place, and hike those trails, and.....

Oh, summer was too short!


Marigold said...

I must say, perhaps Ari is part goat and you didn't realize. I would eat a book if I had half a chance. All that paper! It just has to be yummy - kind of like pre-processed bark. Mmmm. Nonetheless, I suppose the goatmother would take exception to book banqueting too.

umekotyan said...

Good evening Ari.
A wonderful visit to Provincial Park gets excited.
Of course, it is easy to spend the lake beautiful, cool.
The ice cream shares happiness to run about the world.
And, the typhoon is approaching.
I pray that damage is a little.
Please take care.

from loved ume tyan

Booker the Treeing Walker said...

Outdoors looks much better than being stuck in the gallery right now. We need a long nature day to refresh our perspective!

Kathiesbirds said...

Kathryn, how heart breaking to have that old and expensive book chewed up. Sounds like you found the perfect solution to deal with the loss. That lake looks beautiful. Is it, perhaps, the one that is on Rt. 2 west of Bangor and on the way to Skowhegan? I have driven past that one many times and often wondered about it. Alas, I have married a non-swimmer and so must find others to do that with me. I agree it sounds like it was a perfect day. That ice cream sounds yummy.