Hard to believe it’s been three years since I first hit the Publish button on this baby. Looking back, I’m once again thrilled and humbled by those of you who continue to find me, however you can, and apparently aren’t scared off by your first visit. Month after month, you’re growing Rooted In Rangeley deeper and wider, letting my ramblings reach far beyond the tiny corner of the woods from which they sprout!
Definitely a high point in the year was being discovered by and featured on the first-class Rangeley-Maine.com website. It made me feel validated, practically syndicated, and all the more inspired to spread my rustic wisdom beyond folks up here—to those who wished they were up here bad enough to log on and read about it every chance they got. Even other country far away folks were wanting to read about all things Rangeley, I discovered, when a fan from Croatia left his comments and a pretty cool flag icon in my daily stats feed. Then, when a bright Bahamian flag showed up soon after, I knew I’d gone global big time. It made for some pretty colorful blog demographics indeed until my daughter, Becky, moved home from the Bahamas, cutting my international audience in half.
Still, each day adds new surprises to my search term history, evidence I am somehow roping in readers from the farthest reaches of Google and Bing. And just when I think I’ve touched the outer limits of social media, along comes a fan like “evil_squirrel_13” to show me otherwise. Who was he, I wondered, as I followed his crumb trail off my comments section and onto his blog. And why did Evil Squirrel 13 “like” Rooted in Rangeley?
“If you are visiting because I liked and/or commented on one of your posts, welcome to my little world!” his blog explained. Called Evil Squirrel Nest, it was illustrated with his squirrel cartoon drawings and dedicated to all things squirrely. “I do random daily searches for “squirrel” on WordPress, and read the most recent posts containing that word. Even if it has nothing to do with squirrels, I will still hit Like if I enjoy it! It’s interesting to see the variety of blogs and bloggers there are out there on the internets!”
“Wait,” I said to myself, “through the marvel of technology that allows a WiFi signal to beam across Bemis, broadcasting my innermost thoughts from the Bald Mountain broadband tower—out into the same worldwide web used by Steven Hawking and all the great thinkers and doers of our era—I connect with squirrel guy?”
As near as I can figure out, the decoy phrase came from one or two postings. In Signs of Spring, I wrote: “Folks in other social circles are blaming this year’s tough winter on a mixed up Ground Hog’s Day prediction. Back in February, he emerged from his hole and said spring was just six weeks away. The nerve of that wood chuck! How could he and his stuffy handlers come out with all their pomp and circumstance and say that? Aren’t there laws against false advertising? Shadow or no shadow, I wasn’t paying all that much attention. Up here, we don’t have Punxsutawney Phil or anything close. We have a bad ass red squirrel who hangs out in the shadow of the wood shed hogging all the bird seed, and he’s not real prophetic.”
And more recently, speaking of the luxury of Staying Past September in Rangeley, I remembered the years when, after driving uptah camp: “We’d pile out of the Subaru and scatter like squirrels, a flurry of divergent activities fueled by the common purpose of getting going with summer.”
I think it was the squirrel cussing, the rough bad ass red squirrel language that ultimately lured Evil Squirrel to my site. Serves me right, I guess, playing with the power of social media, putting myself out there until—a couple misplaced rodent references later—my cyber network sprouts a branch I never knew anyone would bother to hang out on.
Just kidding, Evil Squirrel, I’m sure we’ll cross paths often. After all, I do live in a cabin in Rangeley year-round and, squirrel talk will, therefore, find its way on my blog regularly. Squirrels eating Tom’s strawberries. Squirrels scurrying around the fire pit and screeching from the treetops. And, especially, the pink little eraser-sized squirrels birthed into a mitten left hanging on the screen porch till their squirrel mamma carted them one by one back into the woodshed. (Right there alone, we’re talking six hits on my blog from the squirrel search engine. Ooops…make that seven!)
And just so my new fan will know he’s in good company when he revisits, I’ll now pay tribute to this year’s whackiest random blog viewers. By random, I mean these folks are not my regular acquaintances, or those who log on because I wrote the URL on a cocktail napkin they stuffed in their pocket, or even those who get curious because they heard about the “Rangeley blog lady” from a friend of a friend. Here’s to the best of this year’s Rooted In Rangeley search terms and the wayward surfers who found their way to my corner of the lake:
Rooted where? My search engine database is still logging plenty of “rootedinrangeley” attempts and a wide variety of spelling variations on my name and my location. Turns out, I am “routed” here and, some would say “rotted,” but usually just “joy’s blog in Rangeley.” Once I was even found at “My Fork in the Road, Maine.” (On occasion, I do confess to Googling my own self, just because I can. My blog publisher claims it doesn’t add to my reader tally, but it’s still fun to play cyber boomerang with myself now and then.)
Trip advisor (not!): Some people seem to have stumbled across me in their eagerness to discover all there is in to do in here in God’s country, and then some. They might come up in person, but only if they can figure out when the “worst mosquito months in Rangeley” are, what time it actually gets dark here, when will the lake freeze over, will the “Purple Onion” still be serving and, especially, will the transfer station (aka dump) stay open despite everything.
Woodsy Wikipedia: The 2013 award in this category goes to whoever was trying to figure out “What are the white bugs on my windows in Rangeley in October?” Most likely, this query came “from away” because anyone in my audience who really stays put up here past the end of September knows the true possible answers. The easy one is: “Those aren’t bugs.” Bugs, thankfully, get freeze dried soon after Labor Day. What’s white and is clinging to your windows in October is either, a) snow; or b) wood stove ashes blowing back toward your house on a stiff lake breeze; or c) a combination of both.
And the top wackiest surfer prize goes to… If search engines suddenly powered down, everyone knows that all forward human motion would stop instantaneously in its tracks. Never mind blogging, we couldn’t work, drive, shop, eat, date, or learn either. Even so, there are times when Googling is not called for, and stopping to surf the net should not be our first course of action. That’s the thinking behind this year’s wackiest random reader search term award. Because, no matter how much I enjoy having any and all readers at Rooted In Rangeley, I do believe that whoever got here pondering: “How can I shoo yellow jackets from my shorts?” should not have been sitting still long enough to log in and type!
Seriously, thanks to all my readers for another terrific year. If not for all of you, I wouldn’t be Rooted In Rangeley, but forever trapped in the meandering tumbleweed of my own twisted mind.