Errol NH is near the top of the state, one of the last outposts in the northern forest.  Turn left at the intersection and you will soon arrive in Dixville Notch at the now shutterred Balsams Grand Resort.  Turn right, and you will soon enter the watershed of the Androscoggin River and the great lakes of western Maine: Aziscohos, Mooselookmeguntic, Oquassuc, Richardson and Rangely.  Beyond that lies the massive wilderness known as the Allegash.

Our friends John and Marlene have built a magic little enclave in the woods of Errol.  Nestled in a mature forest of mixed woods and bordered by a brook, their land is steeply pitched.  The tall canopy provides shade and keeps the intrusive sun away.  The stones in and around the brook are painted with a thick, rich green moss and curly ferns  sprout out of the fertile forest duff.  Underfoot, the forest floor is soft and spongy, carpeted by countless generations of leaf litter and spruce needles.  Lady slippers, trillium and trefoil dot the network of walking paths that John and Marlene have laid through their magical forest.  Over the years, they have landscaped their woodland enclave with “found art” as well as an eclectic collection of oddities.  Stones  and branches have been piled and arranged into living sculpture.   Bits of flotsam have been nailed onto trees.  At first glance, the forest appears natural, but a closer look reveals Marlene and John’s whimsical and clever re-arrangement of the forest.  Nothing looks as though it has been inposed upon the landscape.  Instead, everything appears to have grown from the ground and the forest.  From the little wooden bridge that spans the rushing brook, one looks upstream to the convergence where the brook comes together having been split by a raft of boulders and trees.  Falling in a bubbling froth from one pool to the next, the stream scours round granite stones and gnarly tree roots.  Fallen leaves circle round and round in eddy pools. The water, normally clear, is now golden and dark, loaded with the burden of all the recent rains.

As we sit in cabin warmed by the fire in the woodstove, the babbling of the swollen brook, the murmur of friendly conversation and the wineglow all conspire as I slip into dreamstate. In this magical place, the line between waking and dreamstate is fluid and movable and I easily drift off…

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