Ethan Alcorn, Saco
The year was 1983. I was 19 years old and just before college doing a "Semester in The Rockies," with a an Outdoor School. At the end of a caving expedition near the Montana/ Wyoming border, I heard this song and it had a lasting mark on me. I always liked John Denver. In fact, one of the guys on the course often sang Denver songs with an old guitar, slightly off-key, incomplete lyrics, and we would sometimes join in.
So when we had finished the two long weeks of caving we were driving on a dirt road in several trucks back to civilization, clouds of dust coming up and this song came across the radio. Well, it was like a bolt of lightning in my spine; with perfect timing, sound washing over and embracing me with such clarity, vibrancy and full sound spectrum compared to mumbling camp songs. It was a surreal and beautiful moment: the sun so bright, I felt alive, so aware of everything and the lyrics: the country road, MY home far away in Maine and the ups and downs the group was having together...the song tied it all together . As it turns out, I am related to William Clark — of the Lewis and Clark expedition — who had literally forged THE new road to the west in the 1800’s, only a few miles away, in Montana.
That dusty day I could have been anyone: a coal miner , hitch hiker, farmer, trucker or a native American on the trail of tears, but I was just young, free and glad to be out of the caves, listening to that simple country song nourish my soul.