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I ♥ Maine Winters - Part II
by Lill Hawkins

In a previous article, I might have given the impression that I hate Maine winters
more than anything. This is definitely  not the case, although I must admit that I
think they should come with a "best if used by date" sometime in March, and it
should be strictly enforced.

If we knew that the snow was going to be only up to our knees, the wind was
going to be merely a mild gale and the ice was going to be off at least the
deepest part of the lake by, say, March 21st, I'm sure we could all cope a little
better with having our "
ayuhs" frozen off every time we go outside.

If, for instance, I could write in red on the calendar on March 21st, "First Crocus,"
or "Golf Date with Freddie," I'd be very happy. (And very surprised. I don't play
golf. And I don't know anyone named Freddie, come to think of it.)

Well, anyway, it would be really nice to be able to put some spring things on the
calendar before June, but it doesn't usually work out that way in Maine.

April may be the cruelest month, but May is
Blackfly Season and please note the
capital letters.

So we have to crowd all the spring things into the first part of June, because if we
didn't, they'd run into summer, which is so short in Maine, that we can't fit all
the summer things into it without running smack dab into Autumn. Since our
first frost is usually sometime in August, this results in a good amount of
overlap, as you can imagine.

That's why you often see people out on their decks, hunched over a grill in a
snowstorm, wearing shorts, a winter jacket and a hat with earflaps, with a beer in
one hand and a cup of hot coffee in the other. (Grilling tip: If you find flipping
your burgers difficult, omit the coffee and substitute hot buttered rum for the
beer, thus freeing up a hand.)

In order to deal with this Seasonal Afflictive Disorder, Mainers have become
adept at denial. Just today, I was making the bed and got all chuffed up, because
I realized it's time to put on the summer quilt.

Summer. Quilt. Two words that don't even belong in the same sentence. That's
so sad. Worse, I didn't see anything odd about the fact that my son had to stop
digging the garden, because, six inches down, the soil is frozen. This is in April
on a day when it's 78 degrees out.

This is a cruel joke that Maine pulls on us at least once every spring, when it
throws us a really hot day or two, just so we'll complain, so the weather gods
can feel justified in giving us another six weeks of winter weather afterwards. (I
always think that the hot April days that bring out the beautiful apple blossoms
early are a nice contrast to the April blizzards that freeze them solid.)

No, in spite of what I've said about Maine winters, I don't want to give the
wrong impression and make you think they're at the top of my hate list. I can
take Maine winters when you balance them out against the many good things
that Maine has to offer.

Maine has nice, low key people who hardly ever shoot anyone over traffic
incidents. There are town offices in people's trailer homes where you can
register your car and get laundry tips or even free kittens at the same time.

Several years ago, I scored a cunnin' little stripy kitten, learned how to remove
hard water stains, got some advice on soothing the colicky baby I had with me
and registered a minivan, and the town clerk even held the baby while I signed
the papers. Try to get that kind of service in a city. (I miss it now that we've
moved to a town with a real town office.)

There are Annual Town Meetings where 34 people decide what to do with the
town budget of $600,000 and the other 166 registered voters, who didn't vote,
show up to gripe about it at every Selectman's meeting for the rest of the year.
(Who needs cable when you have Selectman's Meetings?)

No, I want to make it clear that, while I dislike winter in Maine, I don't hate it
with a vengeance. Long, cold and snowy though it may be, there are worst
places to be in winter.

One of them is Washington State, where I learned that they tell you about the
rain, but no one mentions the wind until you've moved there.

Then there's upstate New York, where it's so cold and dry that the snow squeaks
underfoot and trees explode every once in awhile from ice trapped inside them.

While we have the occasional exploding tree in Maine, our snow hardly ever
squeaks and you don't have to worry about rain in the winter here. Nope, just
snow and cold and wind and ... Have I ever mentioned how much I hate winter
in Maine?

About the author: Lill Hawkins lives in Maine and writes about family life, home
education and being a WAHM at
Hawk Hills Acres Blog. Get the News From Hawkhill
Acres: A mostly humorous look at home schooling, writing and being a WAHM, whose
mantra is "I'm a willow; I can bend."
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