along the northern coast of the atlantic ocean lies a sleepy little town called machias, maine. the town is filled with magic and wonderment and fairies named bees. a community tightly sewen together with stitches of imagination and compassion, it is the most fabulous place in all the lands!
i moved to machias on earth day 2011 to be with my partner amy. she moved there to go to college (the college there is well known for it’s marine biology dept) where she studied sports and recreation-this is not a fairy tale there is a major for sports and rec! although she had been out of school for several years, she hung around. it is a town of about 1,000 ppl, with very little in the way of economic opportunities. there is atlantic salmon fishing, lobster catching, seaweed harvesting and blueberry opportunities in the summer, apple opportunities in the fall, and collecting tips for the wreath industry in the winter. most of these are done by migrant workers and none of these are simple! there are a few local restraunts-helens, the bluebird, panda house, and another chinese food joint, and a subway, dunkn donuts (a staple in new england), a mcdonalds and they just opened a newish pizza place. you can also grab some food at the whole food store, the thirsty moose which is the local bar or the mobile gas station. for the most part, all jobs are filled. if you can get a job at the college you are a lucky ducky. but despite it’s way too high unemployment rating, machiasians never go without.
there is an art collective settled in the heart of town and they do so much for the community. the beehive collective calls machias home. they were constantly hosting events free and open to the public. the grange hall-a two story building that was used by a secret society of farmers back in the day to help each other out and keep the bankers at bay-is right next to bad little falls and the place most community actions took place. there were community dinners, music nights, dance classes, sleep overs, poetry readings. the grange is used for story telling, workshops and concerts.
there were no homeless in machias. the ppl would not allow that to happen. when someone was in need of help, the town pulled together and helped them. we would donate our returnable bottles to a family, have a benefit concert (which was never hard to do, the area has a tremendously talented population of artists), donate money or food….when one person in the community was in trouble the community was in trouble. we helped each other without a second thought.
we had community gardens throughout town. you could walk down the street and pick an apple from a tree and eat it. the garden that i grew was open to everyone, and everyone helped me tend it. if you were bored you could go to the big garden on court street across from the beehive house and weed the garden and help harvest
amy was a part of an all lesbian band for several years-hurricane bertha. they would play shows locally and occasionally travel to larger towns and play there. every year they played at the rainbow ball-a prom for lgbtqa youth from all over maine.. right before i moved to machias hurricane bertha got a token straight guy as their lead guitarist.
amy also was a founding member of a co-ed fraternity. they were a civil rights fraternity. they were a family, comrades, friends. they helped host the rainbow ball along with the lgbtqa group on campus the 100% society. they marched every year in portland pride. they also hosted workshops on social issues and helped with the annual aids walk.
when in maine i met some of the most loving, caring, best ppl i know. my friends are awesome! crissy and her husband jace. jace is a recently transitioning male, and crissy is his wife who is supporting him all the way. jace would come over and we would talk about transitioning, what is male and what is female and the social stigma of each, he is one of my dearest friends and i love both of them so much. benjamin and lois-ann. benjamin is also a recently transitioning male and lois-ann is his wife. lois-ann is a psychology professor at the college. benjamin was another of the founding members of the fraternity and was in hurricane bertha with amy. lindsay. lindsay was a park ranger and a swimming instructor. nikki. nikki was an olive skinned girl of italian decent who was a member of the beehive; she would come to the house, we would eat and talk about books. erin. erin, another bee, was one of the funniest ppl i know! she was famous for doing “wonderboy” by tenacious d at the weekly karaoke in a style that is all erin featuring leg kicks, spins, and fist clenching. christine. christine, a bee, is an amazing person who exudes femininity. she was like a walking earth goddess. we would garden together and cook together. jenny penny. jp is a musical genius! she can play pretty much every instrument but is fluent on the guitar, banjo, accordion, bass, keyboards, and drums. she is also the queen of polka. kehben. kehben is a quiet woman filled to the brim with compassion. she is a founding member of the beehive collective and has a vivid imagination. her vision is beyond compare. matt. matt, another bee, is the nicest guy i think i have ever met. he always has a smile on his face! o and he is a great pancake recipe tester! nichole. nichole is amy’s best friend, and is hilarious. she and i didn’t become friends though until amy and i moved from away from maine, which i regret alot. most of that was my fault. i didn’t give nichole much of a chance. library ben. library ben is maybe the smartest guy in maine. on game night he beat everyone by miles at all the word games-scrabble boggle were his best. he knew words and books and he loved putting a ton of ginger in his food. nate. nate was the bee primarily working on the latest poster while we were in machias. there would be weeks in which we did not see nate bc he was in the studio. he lived in the treehouse at the beehive. he ended up having a motorcycle accident and stayed at our house bc the hive was hosting it’s annual workparty and was taken over by anarchist activists from all corners of the world and there was no way he could heal in those conditions. brea. brea was erin’s best friend and nate’s smooching partner. she was brassy and fun. she stayed with us for most of the time nate did, tending to his wounds. but she ate all the chips! brea!!!! (fist shake) carles. amy and i found carles walking down the street. the workparty had just started and so ppl were piling into our sleepy village by the dozens. walking down the steet, shoulders drawn due to the weight of his backpack was carles. he couldn’t find the hive house, so we scooped him up and took him there. he is from spain and he is a EXTREMELY talented artist, and the prettiest boy i have ever seen, ever. zigga. zigga was friends with erin and came to machias to build the new beehive website. he was smart, pretty, queer and young. i loved going for walks with zigga. he reminded me so much of my oldest son eli. i should also add that zigga was a fantastical pool player, and always had at least 2 tools on him at all times-zigga we still have your flashlight! cole. cole showed up for the work party. nikki came to my house a couple of days in and said “you have to meet cole! they are the coolest in the world!” i was so confused bc they generally implies more than one, so i thought nikki had grouped a couple of ppl together and named them all cole. i had just finished reading “cunt a declaration of independence” and i was stuck on trying to identify masculine and feminine without the use of social constraints. and here comes cole into my life. cole was the first real gender queer person i had ever met, and they are so open and honest and really knowledgeable! they sat in our living room and let me grill them for hours over the subject. i never really got a black and white answer to the questions i posed, bc there is no black and white answers at all, but we had so much fun! this is not a complete list….this is just the beginning. there are so many more ppl!!!!
the backdrop for our lives was the most beautiful nitch of nature ever! having lived in texas and oklahoma my entire life, i was not used to alot of rain, and it is wicked wet all the time in maine. the grass is green and soft, unlike what i was used to-yellow and stickery. there were trees everywhere! driving down the street felt like mother nature was giving you a big, warm hug. right at the turn of june that lilacs begin to bloom and the entire state smells of sweetness. there are flowers called lupins that grow 3 feet tall and wild orange poppies! there was a vacant lot across the street from our house where wild rhubarb grew! there is a beach called jasper’s beach that has no sand-it is made completely of semi-precious stones. when the waves come in it sounds as though the ocean is applauding your presence. there is only one other beach in the world like this one and it is in japan. the grange sat right on the mouth of a small river, the machias river, at the waterfalls-bad little falls. the river met the ocean and there was a swirl of foamy reaction from the fresh water mixing with the salt water. it looked as though someone had put mr bubbles in the water. deer wondered through town, watching out for moose was a constant, and once amy and i saw a whale from shore. bats, foxes, bears, eagles, hawks were all common. we would spend evenings hanging out by a campfire, laughing, telling jokes and stories.
i love maine. i can’t wait to move back. in machais amy and i were the “normal” people. we had a house where our friends could come to escape from the activist world for a bit. in oklahoma, we are the activist. we are considered radical. i ammend that, i am considered radical bc the way we lived in maine is the way i want to live my life. i won’t let ppl be hungry. if i see someone in trouble i feel i need to help to the best of my ability. living in community with neighbors and friends is how we are intended to live. we don’t need a leader or a spokesperson, we can settle disputes over a good bowl of soup.
extra info on machias:
- there are more lesbians per capita in the machias area than anywhere else in the entire world
- allen coffee brandy is the official drink of maine
- the mist will get you
- bats in maine are not the size of bats you see in scooby doo cartoons but amy will never admit that
- raw milk is normal there
- sustainable farming
- flannel is a must
- carhart is the most popular brand name
- everything is uphill both ways-for reals
- the official food is shepherds’ pie
- moose are magical mystical creatures who have their own lodges
other friends who need mentioning:
- emily-agent-superstong lady who is wicked smart beautiful and able to fend off appendicitis for weeks while doing the work party and the blackfly ball
- leslie chick and celia-a couple who were so cool and musically talented
- allen-musical genius and mad hatter
- lauren-one of the most beautiful voices in all the land
- sean-big burly bearded pirate who hands out backrubs in abundance
- lis clark-a great lady who works w lgbtqa youth
- beatrice-a bee who looks just like helena bonham carter with red hair and the most wonderful smell in the whole world!!!!
- liz sullivan-nichole’s girlfriend, she works hard, goes to school and loves to run
- sabor-lanscaping artist who avoids angles and works primarily with curves
- susan-sabor’s mom and owner operator of obadiah’s a cool ass shop/food joint
- stephanie, lauren, jenn-pirates who will steal your left shoes
- sam-ladies’ man extraordinare
- sam gaddis-young fella at all the functions
- fred-the guy with the solar panel trike who hangs out on the dyke and smokes cigerettes. super cool fred!!!!!
- gay take out-real name riverside take out but known to all as gay takeout!! best sweet potato fries and onion rings!
- linda-played a in a few different bands/projects with jenny penny and has a voice like janis joplin! that lady can belt it out!
- ayrca- a transwoman who gives educational workshops on transitioning and trans issues. she also gives the best ever camping haircuts known to humankind!