I wonder if E.B. White would have come back “once more” to the lakes in Maine if, after his first visit, while he sat by the evening campfire, colorful sparkles from lakeside fireworks lit up the sky, blocking the stars, followed by loud, cannon-like booms shattering the peaceful atmosphere on and off again for the next few hours, night after night.

If I recall correctly, it was the natural essence of Maine’s environment, the birds and the animals that stimulated his writings; the clear waters, the endless summer days, the colorful trout, the quietude of the Maine evenings complemented only by the mournful cry of the loon.

Unfortunately, the peace and quiet that E.B. wrote about have not prevailed. The problem has gone well beyond the nuisance of the two-stroke motor he so much disliked.

With the legalizing of fireworks by the state of Maine, folks are finding the lakes a convenient place to set off their evening displays along the shorelines. On some lakes, this occurs almost every night throughout the summer for a few hours starting at dusk.

Toxic substances and paper debris drift into the waters from these aerial displays, adding unwanted chemicals including phosphorous and unsightly flotsam. The loud booms scare the loons, as their panicked cries indicate.

To ask the question once again, “Would E.B. White have bothered to come back to that lake in Maine if he encountered such noise and light pollution the first time he was there?”


Perhaps a more topical question would be, “Will visitors from out of the region bother to come back after they find their vacation time less than peaceful and not as advertised?”

Is this really the way life should be?

John R. Gibbs

Ipswich, Mass.


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