“Rockland has become famous chiefly through its extensive lime industry and shipbuilding. Here the art of manufacturing lime crudely begun in the 18th century reaches its highest stage of development, and in the leading markets of the country takes the highest rank. The largest lime quarries in the world are located here. Some of them are over 300 feet in depth, are supplied with modern machinery, and are favorite view scenes for thousands of tourists every summer.”

— Board of Trade Journal, 1909

A good friend recently mentioned that part of why she loves living in Maine is that you can really feel the bones of this place. Maybe she meant the way the old buildings rise up, the disintegrating lime kilns overgrown with grass, the former factories, plants, and mills, how they all scaffold the sky. Or how each of us with our very particular personality and tender skin is part of the skeleton of this place. How the land cradles the bones of indigenous people who lived here for thousands of years before Europeans immigrated. How we are closer here to being an integral part of our communities, to the dirt and to the water, than we would be in bigger cities and suburbs.

Who is the city of Rockland for? Who gets to stay? Who is forced to go? Who is part of the process of change? Whose opinions count more than those of others, and why? Who tells the story of Rockland, the Lime City? Do we hear enough from students, teachers, elders, renters, the young, the poor — and do we listen? These issues are not specific to Rockland but are rather entwined with the assumptions, values, triumphs, tragedies, and choices that have shaped the society and history of the United States at large. A central concern for both of us is how (and indeed whether) the pursuit of economic self-interest can be compatible with human happiness, environmental protection, and animal welfare. We can’t address these things as just one community acting on its own. But what can we do in our small city to make it the most welcoming, safe, healthy, open, and resilient place that we can, given the financial and resource constraints we face?

We, Nate and Becca, don’t always agree on everything. But in general we value building a world in which people can be who they wish regardless of the circumstances of their births, their genes, or their childhoods. We value neighborhoods, safety, healing, honesty, and transparency. We value inclusivity for LGBTQI people, people with disabilities, people of color, immigrants, and all marginalized people including those who simply feel their voices and thoughts don’t count. We value intersectional feminism, a social safety net for all with no barriers, and a functional, healthy, accountable, bold, progressive local government. We value the lessening of suffering for all. We think there is no acceptable reason why anyone in Rockland is un-housed.

In this column, we will cover things that happen in and to Rockland and its people, including city government, local projects, and regional concerns. We will sometimes write separately and sometimes together.

We are interested in the history of Rockland, and especially in unearthing words not so often heard: people’s journals, the stories of those who worked in the sex trades on Tillson Avenue (once Sea Street), testimonies of child rearing, of struggle, of work.

We are interested in the present: our schools, mental health care access, city council, Yachting Solutions’ plans, the LGBTQI community, wealth disparity, short-term rentals, housing access, pesticides, bike and pedestrian safety and access, zoning.

We are interested in what comes next for Rockland. We will suggest ways to think and act about the future and present effects of climate change. We will discuss ways that city council and our local government could be more inclusive, welcoming, responsive, and participatory and give space for more voices to be truly heard. We will view and approach issues through an intersectional lens — that is, with the knowledge that all aspirations and oppressions intersect and overlap.

One of the things we love about Rockland is the feeling that we are close to the bones of it, close enough to be part of creating what happens here, now and in the future.

We strongly encourage you to write to us on local subjects you would like to see addressed — concerns on your mind, or local experiences that might not be covered enough elsewhere, such as rental issues, harassment, experiences with the local jail and prison, domestic violence, substance abuse disorders, healing, dating, getting older, or what happens in our schools. We will keep your concerns anonymous if you request it. Tell us what’s on your mind and in your heart at limecitylove@protonmail.com.