Our Maine Street's Aroostook Issue 18 : Fall 2013 - Page 43

Saving Our Aroostook By Sandra Gauvin The other day, I was outside, looking at the vast landscape called Aroostook County that lay before me, and I realized what a treasure we have up here. I started thinking about the physical beauty, but then my brain extended its meanderings to the people and the power of “The County.” And the little writer that lives in the upstairs apartment in my head came up with this. I Am Aroostook County In quiet splendor, I sit royally atop a state whose people are strong and forthright, honest and unassuming. I have been called “The Crown of Maine”, as well I should be, sitting atop the northernmost part of this beautiful state. I sparkle with the grandeur of royalty, yet I am solid and strong. I am unique in all the world and so are my children. And the sixth jewel is perhaps the most brilliant-my diamond. Diamonds shining atop fluffy snow on a sunny winter day, shimmering in the clear air sparkling with health, a land and its people without compare – priceless. The variety of facets in the diamond attest to the diversity of nature available to all who live and visit here. And the differences that all meld together to make a whole – the unique facets that together make up a cohesive jewel. As my “little author” finished her work, I also realized how deeply I love Aroostook County. Unfortunately, things have happened in The County to take a little of the luster off the crown. Did you know that: • Aroostook County’s population has decreased by 4% in the last decade, most of which is due to the outmigration of our young people? I am made from the earth. That places my worth beyond measure. The earth that bore me gave me strength • Our annual household income is more than $10,000 below the state average? that time and tide cannot minimize. Neither the cold bluster of the winters nor the warm rains of the summers • Only 16.4% of Aroostook residents have a bachelor’s degree or higher educational attainment, compared can wear away my luster. I, like my people, shine through with 27.1% across Mai