Chip Griffin plays lead guitar when it comes to the history of Damariscove. He has spoken, written, and dreamed about the island for years. It may be fair to guess that he is somewhat of a reincarnated inhabitant of a life once lived there. It's difficult to consider so much knowledge coming from pure research.
But, as my father used to say, “Hard to imagine frozen toes until you've had some.” So, I'd like to suggest, then, that there is nothing quite like floating into Damariscove harbor and walking the island.
Last week, on a perfect autumn day, a bunch of us piled onto Mark Stover's boat and cruised over for a little tour. Mark really knows the island.vI think someone in his family was stationed there.
We got the deluxe tour which started near the ruins of the old Brownie cottage. I recalled a great Doug Remley painting and more recently a painting by Bob Rose. I have a black and white photograph we cherish, made on our first trip to Damariscove with David and Cindy Colburn back in the '70s with their then very young son, Jon.
From that bit of shore we trekked off to the museum and then to the area of great quarry slabs along the eastern shore. Mark said that many of the huge chunks of rock where used for local buildings in the Harbor area and for the old jail in Wiscasset. It is amazing to think about how such huge heavy objects could be moved and transported from the island.
Next stop for us was the pond, which during a good run of sea, might get a hefty taste of salt water. Even on a mid coming tide the distance between the ocean and the pond was not great. Lovely rounded stones, tumbled by eons of motion, covered the shore.
Back at the dock I thought about all the people who had once inhabited the island. So many come and gone. A very mystical experience.