A Tangible Sign Of Friendship

-1As everyone who reads the Webner House blog knows, we recently spent time on Peaks Island, Maine.  I was on this beautiful island four days before Bob and Russell joined me, so I had lots of ‘alone’ time, mostly spent walking, biking, reading and eating more lobster rolls than I care to admit.

On one of my trips walking the periphery of Peaks, I found this granite bench on the far, more remote back side of the island.  I was touched to think of the friendship that inspired this gesture — a lone bench, with this simple but moving message, with a beautiful and breathtaking view out toward the Casco Bay Islands and the Atlantic beyond.  I found myself thinking of the acts of friendship and loyalty that surely inspired this gesture, and how fortunate any one individual is to have made such a dear friend, or to have been the friend who inspired this special gift.

Here’s to Ric Rhodes, whoever you were, and to your friend who remembers you in such a special way.  May we all be fortunate enough to have such friendships of our own.

-2

Post-Apocalyptic

IMG_4345On a pretty little island off the coast of Maine, you would not expect to find a graffiti-scarred, overgrown and abandoned concrete edifice — but on Peaks Island you will find Battery Steele.

It’s there because of World War II.  It’s a huge, sprawling gun battery site, pointed out to the open sea, apparently to be used if German U-boats or the Nazi fleet threatened the Portland, Maine harbor.  It is a massive concrete installation with a long tunnel that probably stored ammunition and other supplies.  At one time it must have been powered with overhead lighting and been bustling with activity.

IMG_4334The war ended almost 70 years ago, and the threat of Nazi attack was fleeting.  The government long ago abandoned Battery Steele. Owned by the Peaks Island Land Preserve, you find the installation by walking down a meandering path through a bog, ultimately to reach this grotesque, gray intrusion into the natural landscape.

It is a very creepy place with a strong post-apocalyptic feel to it, like a setting from The Road Warrior.  The sweeping gray concrete walls have proven irresistible to graffiti artists.  Without lighting, the long central tunnel is pitch black and looks like the pathway to hell.  The resulting, unsettling sense of lawlessness has you looking over your shoulder, half-expecting to see the Humongous and his gang of psychopaths come charging out of one of the concrete doors.

On our visit yesterday, there were no rampaging gangs, and the birds chirped and the insects buzzed.  Still, we couldn’t wait to get the hell out of there.IMG_4341