Your Own Special Place: Find It

I Love Spring.

Unquestionably, October is my favorite month of the year. It’s the perfect season, for me, in every way.  Foliage season touches my soul deeply and leaves me with a sense of awe and contentment. Personally, there is no better place to be than New England on crisp, colorful autumn days.  I think I would be happy with a place that was “October” year round.

However, Spring has now crept to the top of my list as well.  March brings the beginning of Spring and all it’s fresh promise.  April brings the sweetness of spring, new life, baseball, t-shirts, and campfires. It brings days of driving with the window down, fresh air, and green grass. May brings an abundance of blooming color, warm days, and warmer smiles. Spring is full of optimism; Spring is good. Nonetheless, the best part of Spring, for me, is that once again I am able to enjoy my special place: The Cabin.

25 years ago my Mom and Dad bought 64 acres of land in central Maine.  At that time it was just a parcel of rolling land choked with tangled woods and old logging roads. Not pretty to look at, but beautiful to be within. As a family we built a log cabin and it became a second home to all of us. It’s rustic and simple but full of so much life. Like any home the work to maintain The Cabin is hard. On every visit there is always something to do. Something always needs fixing, the grass always needs mowing, firewood constantly needs cutting and splitting, and hiking trails forever need maintenance. Despite the constant sweat and toil, The Cabin remains a boundless source of peace and inspiration.

The Cabin by itself is wonderful. It’s not a big structure, but it’s enormous on character. The interior and exterior logs are rough and knotted with texture and strength. The pitched roof makes rainy nights calming and seductive. The screen door slams shut with a familiar sound. The chairs are all old and broken in just right. Wood fires, indoors or out, never fail to be comforting and warm.  The smell of fresh cut grass on a summer night is intoxicating. The small farmer’s porch is a perfect place to sit quietly and listen to the sounds of the woods. The Cabin is my parent’s pride and joy; they built it with their own hands, literally. I love it, but it’s THEIR place. My place is outside: The Land.

The moment I set foot on The Land twenty-five years ago, I fell in love. I have always loved the outdoors, but this was now MY woods. There are birches, maples, pines, hemlocks, cedar, poplar, and beech trees all over. Bushes of wild raspberrys, blueberrys, and blackberrys are scattered throughout The Land.  Everywhere is the sound of busy birds and red squirrels.  Growing among the trees and bushes are wildflowers such as Lady Slippers, Trillium, Black Eyed Susan’s, Dogwood Flowers, Bluebell’s, Lupine, Daisy’s, and Mayflowers. The woods are alive with creatures great and small. I have seen deer, moose, bear, turkey, grouse, hawks, owls, fischer cats, rabbits, snakes, tree frogs, and mink. There is a gentle stream that twists through the property in a sweet, meandering kind of way. If you follow it you will come to a small pond that was created when the beaver dammed up the stream a few years ago.

The pond is a good place to view a heron fishing, a moose standing, or a wood duck paddling.   You might see a deer anytime, but they prefer the high, sunlit ridge that is covered with hard woods. There is a bog on the other side of the stream that is covered in richly colored moss, lichen, and aging cedar trees. Much of the forest is difficult to walk through but it is breathtaking to sit within. Even on the quietest of days the forest is full of busy, moving life.  The forest fills all of your senses, completely and touches something even deeper inside.  It all amazes Me. All of it is beyond Me. It is beautiful.  I know every inch of The Land. One way or another I have walked or crawled through, over, and under every nook and cranny of it. I have spent countless hours making trails and reclaiming old logging roads to hike and snowshoe on. The good Lord gave me a body that was built for working and I like to use it. I sweat and strain and curse at my constant struggle with Mother Nature. She is stronger than I am and she WILL win, but I love the aches and pains from cutting trees, rolling boulders, or moving blown down trees. It’s very mindless work, but also very rewarding. The Work brings many rich rewards that fulfill me. It makes my morning coffee on the porch taste that much better. It makes the scent of cut grass sweeter. It makes the sound of a howling coyote at night that much more thrilling. More importantly, it feeds my soul beyond description and makes everything about Me better. The Work, The Land, and Me go hand in hand.

I am very fortunate, for now, and I know it. The world is big and beautiful to see in every way but, there is something very comforting and enlightening about KNOWING one place; no matter how great or small. It can lend great meaning to everything you are, if you let it. I love my special place. I hope you all to find yours.

Don Toothaker

“Photograph What You Feel”


  1. Marty

    Really enjoyed this blog entry and the images that went along with it. I do agree with you about the seasons and it’s something to appreciate more so in the Northeast and New England in particular where all four seasons make their mark. You couldn’t really sense that in another part of the country. I’m glad spring is just round the corner and the warmer days will be upon us.

    The nights there must be awesome to be in such an idllyic location. Watching the heavens and stars must be a sight to be seen.

    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Wonderful blog and what a terrific special place! One can actually visualize your little heaven on Earth. Thanks for inviting us to The Cabin and the forest and friends around it.

  3. Tara Ann Marshall

    Don, great blog! You have such a way with words, eloquent and articulate. Thanks for sharing your special place. I very much enjoyed readying this and admired the photos.

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