Musings: Winding Down 2013 in Maine

Snow falls on a tranquil island in Maine.
Snow falls on a tranquil island in Maine.

“Wicked” winter weather in the form of heavy snowfalls,  a major ice storm, and power outages have kept me busy and away from my blog over the last couple of weeks, but I hope those readers who celebrate Christmas had a happy one and that a festive Solstice was had by all on December 21. I’m sure there was an intriguing Solstice celebration at Stonehenge in England, as there is each year. If you haven’t visited there, it’s well worth a side trip if you find yourself in England someday.

Now we are in the long days of darkness, with daylight starting to fade shortly after 3PM here on my small island, and darkness shrouding everything by 4PM.  I use this week between Christmas and New Year’s to clean out my office and get ready for what the next year may bring. I’ve never been much on looking back, preferring instead to savor the present and plan for the future—which is a little ironic, given that I was born in January, a month named for a two-headed god who looked both forward and backward.

From my office window I watch lobstermen setting out early in the morning and returning by mid-afternoon. With temperatures in the low teens, I admire their grit and determination. The ocean is gray and choppy, although right now we are having a brief hour or so of sunshine.

However you spend these last two days of 2013, I hope you’ll enjoy the remaining moments and make the most of the rest of the holiday season.

Montreal Casino

A bar at the newly refurbished Montreal Casino.  Photo courtesy of Montreal Casino
A bar at the newly refurbished Montreal Casino. Photo courtesy of Montreal Casino

A frugal New Englander, I am definitely not a gambler, but while in Montreal recently I had a chance to attend the opening night festivities of the newly refurbished casino. It was a gala evening, and the building is amazing. At night, lights sparkle in the huge building and reflect off the water. Inside, all is light and bright.

Those who enjoy testing their wits against Lady Luck will find that the 4 years of construction and $305 million Canadian dollars poured into the casino were well spent. Slot machines now include 3-D animation with well-known film characters, for example. Perhaps most eye-popping are the visual effects projected on a huge multimedia wall. The casino also boasts 6 bars and several casual restaurants where the food–as one might expect in this cuisine-crazy city–is excellent.

Consider a stop if your travels bring you to beautiful Montreal, one of my favorite cities.