The Joy of Winter

I’m tired of complaining about winter weather: time to focus on all that’s good about a winter that is not yet half over but seems endless. Let’s see…..there’s plenty of time to tackle a major project since days go by when it’s difficult or impossible to get out of a long Maine driveway covered in ice. Life slows down to a manageable pace. I actually had a couple of phone conversations over the weekend instead of resorting to hasty emails. The house is looking spiffy thanks to a mid-winter clean-up. And, I must admit, it is fun to get out in the snow now and then even if doing so requires multiple layers of clothing and boots up to my knees.
Here on my small Maine island, village life revolves around the local post office (arrive just before noon if there’s someone you’ve been trying to catch up with) where posters announce everything that’s going on in town, as well as the two small cafes. We check those out often for coffee and news — OK good-natured gossip. It’s a quiet life to be sure, but come spring — and it is coming, right? — I’ll be pleased that I’ve managed to get a pile of work done and had a little break from life’s usual hectic pace. But I will admit that a little sunshine at this point, after umpty-up gray days, would not hurt at all. We’ll just call that last thought

Snow blankets a small island in Maine. Nathaniel Hammond photo
Snow blankets a small island in Maine.
Nathaniel Hammond photo
an “observation” instead of a complaint!

January on a Maine Island



Snow falls on a Maine island. Nathaniel Hammond photo
Snow falls on a Maine island. Nathaniel Hammond photo

Snow. Ice. Freezing rain. Repeat.

That’s pretty much how things have gone here on my small island, starting well before the winter officially began. Today sky and ocean meld into one continuous gray blanket punctuated with white snowflakes.

Life on the island moves slowly at this time of year.  Social life consists of breakfast at the local cafe, potluck suppers at the village church, an exercise class at the fire station. On the plus side, it’s a great time of year to tackle a big project without any distractions.  And although it’s not always fun to start the  day with an hour of shoveling–or worse yet, thawing  frozen pipes–the landscape dusted with sparkling snow is incredibly lovely.

Of course life in Maine in the middle of winter is not for everyone. I’m remembering a talk I gave last year to summer visitors, after which someone in the audience had this conversation with me:

Visitor: Do you really live in Maine?

Me: Yes

Visitor: Year ’round?

Me: Um, yes.

Visitor: Why on earth would you do that?

It was one of those times when one has to stifle a laugh. Wasn’t it Louis Armstrong who was once asked “What is Jazz?” He replied something ot the effect of,  “If you have to ask, you’ll never know.”

Best wishes to all for the new year.