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

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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