The passing of Memorial Day holds additional significance to year-round Maine residents. Gardens are planted, windows are opened, outdoor grills emerge from hiding, and otherwise quiet communities fill with people from away. Yes, the summer folk have arrived. And to outsiders we may appear to be an integrated lot of regular people, but there are differences between the average 12-month and 3-month Maine dweller. Of all imaginable differences, the most profound and ubiquitous elicits minimal contention, and it deals with habits of accumulation.
Any full-time Mainer has, more likely than not, a pile, a room, a shed, a garage, barn, or even an entire house, that holds the stuff of dreams deferred. This stuff (also known as junk) is old (in need of restoration), new (but not of use), broken (not beyond repair), or in the contemplative stage of total metamorphosis (the old tub that could someday be a garden koi pond, for example).
Admittedly, these unpolished treasures are trash in the eyes of many. In fact, many such items accumulate over the course of years, and rarely reemerge as reformed, functional objects. And while it makes sense to most people to simply discard the stuff we cannot use (or are not using), to a Mainer there is comfort and wisdom in hanging onto the very items that are objectively past their prime.
This bias towards saving, cluttering, rehabbing and retrofitting, is part of the authentic Maine experience, which is probably why one needs to survive the winter in order to carry the trait. The trait may indeed give rise to brilliance, as I was so happily reminded by the intricately hand-carved, discarded tires of Wim Delvoye. This excellent work is dedicated to everyone living unrealized trash/treasure dreams. Hang in there, and hold onto your stuff; You may be on the cusp of beauty.