I was asked to visit Ameera with a friend yesterday after work. The weather was mild and therefore pleasant for a picnic. I brought a water-resistant blanket (because let's face it, it's Spring in Maine and the ground is moist), cold Allagash White beer, and plates with clothed animals (thank you West Elm/Mom). After ordering and waiting for a fresh, giant and hand crafted gyro and kufta, we hurried across the ever-bustling Forest Ave to slow down in Baxter Woods. We set up camp next to the pond immediately across from Ameera where I quickly proceeded to open up my gyro and take an un-lady-like-sized bite. The tastes and textures as well as a flooding of memory were absolute. The first time I tried a gyro was in France in 2004 but there, it's called a kebab (unlike the meat stick version of kebab in America). There's something about shaved, warm, thin slices of meat, lettuce, tomato and onions wrapped in handmade bread that is comforting. But then add whatever magic orange sauce and jalapenos to it and your day is made. It took awhile but I ate the whole thing. In between feedings, J and I searched for the ever-invisible Spring Peepers (hurray Spring! I also heard a Phoebe this morning) and tried to catch a Painted Turtle. It was a great end to an eventful day.
Back to the Woods for a minute though, if you've never been in this forest within a city, please go! You are treated to Spring Peeper serenades, Mallard Duck pairs, Painted Turtles swimming and squirrels creating or improving their dreys (nests made of leaves) sightings. If you venture further in, as I did on break from teaching all week, you get the feeling you are walking in the Pacific coast woods for some reason. The air is cool and you feel calm, even if you didn't when you entered. It's so peaceful even though you are encased between Forest Ave and Stevens Ave. There is a giant fort on the right side (from Forest Ave orientation) as well as a blown down tree that makes a perfect reading perch. Now, go forth and nature!