June 29 – July 5, 2018 Vol. 20, No. 4


Summertime in the Belgrades

June 29 – July 5

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The Day the Ents Attacked

by Rod Johnson

The storm of October 30, 2017 brought an incredible low pressure system that worked its way into New England. The resulting near-hurricane-force winds on the heels of four inches of rain, caused catastrophic damage throughout the entire region. Our own Maine communities were not spared and in some cases the destruction was beyond imagination. Descriptions of the carnage from homeowners, weather people, emergency providers and so on varied, but in one particular family's case, their perceptions of what happened to the family cottage takes us to the fantasy world of J.R.R. Tolkien's books where Ents exist.

Ents are intelligent beings that are the shape of giant talking trees and have various jobs and functions. One role they have been known to play is "Shepherds of the Trees", who protect all the trees from the dwarfs. In other roles they have been portrayed to be less benevolent and are capable of being VERY DESTRUCTIVE.

The family I speak of above is the Pentlarge-Radik family who have, for several generations, owned a lovely old log cabin neatly hidden away on the Mill Stream in Belgrade Lakes. After being alerted that their beloved heirloom had sustained major damage, the family arrived with friends from their Massachusetts homes to see the devastation and assess the damage. A flood of feelings, including shock, awe, grief and loss can only describe the psychological state that overtook the owners and their friends. Six large pines lay atop the multi-pitched roofs of the grand old lady lodge, and as if to add one more slap in the face, the forces had laid down four more on the tiny log garage.

What I personally saw in the pictures that Mara Pentlarge sent out was carnage, causing a true sense of loss. To see such an iconic, well-built log structure crippled to such an extent seemed like a horrible shame. My first thoughts were that it was a total loss and irreparable from any practical standpoint. After several days of revisiting the pictures and seeing other homes and camps that were damaged in varying amounts, it seemed that our little lake village would never be quite the same. I was personally enlightened and can only imagine the family was ecstatic when Kevin Hawes skillfully removed all the trees from both buildings and G and L Builders concluded that they could repair the major damage.

Bottom line is that the Ents may have won the battle by badly pummeling the century old log structure, but the old girl refused to give in and crumble. With her sheer will, coupled with log walls, hemlock framed and boarded roofs, the Granddame won the war. May she live for many more centuries — and may the Ents behave themselves for many years to come.

Rod Johnson was born and raised in the Belgrade Lakes in the 1950s and '60s.