The Warmth of a Maine Winter

 

Here in Maine it is still winter, and I miss the flowers that bloom in Tokyo even in the coldest of weather.  I stay indoors a lot, sitting by the wood stove trying to get warm.  Ever since the earthquake, I easily feel cold, and sometimes wake in the middle of the night shaking even if it’s warm under the blankets.  I am reminded of my Tokyo neighbor’s toy poodle who now refuses to go back inside the house, and when made to do so starts to shiver all over.  I guess it’s a natural reaction to large unsettling earthquakes.

But even if the weather is cold and snowy, warmth comes from the fire and from people.  A woman from Fed Ex came to the door the other day with a parcel addressed to me from one of my workplaces in Japan.  Noticing the return address she asked me, “Oh, do you know these people?  Are they okay?”  I told her I did know them; that I worked with them, and they were indeed okay.  When she found out I had just come from there, she started to cry.  “I feel so sorry for all those people over there!” she said, giving me a hug.

Concern for Japan is widespread in Maine.  According to an article in the March 23 issue of the Portland Forecaster , several Japan-related organizations in the Portland area have joined together to raise funds to help earthquake and tsunami victims.  Maine’s sister state is Aomori Prefecture, a relationship which began, according to the article, in 1889 when Aomori residents helped to rescue American sailors shipwrecked off their coast.  Now Maine wants to return the favor by sending funds to Aomori.

Other recent fund-raising efforts in Maine included a donation of $250,000 from L.L. Bean, which operates outlets in Japan, and origami lessons at the Bangor Mall, where for a donation of $2.00 apiece you could learn to create a beautiful object and appreciate Japan at the same time.

Frisbee

A third-grade boy I know donated $6.00 and created these origami items at the Bangor Mall booth.

Stellated Icosahedron

Asked what the experience was like, he told the Tree, “I loved it.  It was just amazing how everything fitted together.”

Any thoughts about Japan?  “I thought a lot about Japan, about how it is kind of broke down and we are helping Japan,” he replied.

Firework

Thank you, Mainers!

 

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One Response to “The Warmth of a Maine Winter”

  1. deborah Says:

    Hi Ellie,
    I read your last two entries with tears.
    I’m flying back to Boston from LA on Tuesday.
    Let’s get together soon.
    Are you traveling beyond Portland or are you there to stay for a while?

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