Frigid February on a Small Maine Island

It may be the shortest month of the year, but as we continue to deal with mountains of snow and frigid temperatures here on the island, February seems to be lasting forever. This is one of the few times that I can remember stalwart Mainers actually getting fed up with the weather. A few have taken off for warmer climates, but the rest of us are resolutely hanging on and waiting to turn the page on the calendar. We’ve finally had a few days without snow, although we are due for another six inches later in the week. Right now the cold is the biggest problem…well below zero last night and more chilly days and nights expected. Life has pretty much come to a halt on the island. It’s too cold even for the hardy lobstermen to venture out on the water, and pretty much the only people on the roads are the plow drivers, oil truck drivers, and workmen doing odd jobs like shoveling off roofs. So, how does one spend one’s time when it’s too cold to do much but hunker down inside? Those of us who work at home have no problem keeping busy. Deadlines don’t disappear because of the weather, and in some ways it’s good to work without a lot of distractions. When I sit here in my office in summer, looking out at the sailboats and lobster boats bobbing by, it’s a lot harder to keep my mind on my job. When June comes and our summer people return to the island, there will be lots of questions about why on earth we stayed on through such an historically bad winter. I guess the only answer is, “If you have to ask, you’ll never understand.” The stubborn New England personality is certainly part of it…we don’t like to give in or give up. And as I’ve mentioned before, there’s a certain pride in withstanding whatever Mother Nature throws at us. Nonetheless, spring will never be more appreciated than it will be this year. It’s less than a month away, and while it’s still way too soon to pack away the winter woolies and boots, I did a see a robin yesterday. There’s hope!

Dreaming of a summer lobster bake in Maine. Photo (c) Nathaniel Hammond
Dreaming of a summer lobster bake in Maine. Photo (c) Nathaniel Hammond

Stay warm wherever you are.

February on a Small Maine Island

With the sun shining, everything that’s good about living in a remote corner of Maine comes into clear focus. This morning, for example, I took my usual two-mile walk around the island, ending up at one of our two tiny cafe-stores to buy the newspaper. Although clear and sunny — really a gorgeous day — it is also bitterly cold, and many of the local lobstermen

A Maine lobster boat at anchor at the end of a day's work.
A Maine lobster boat at anchor at the end of a day’s work.
were inside drinking coffee and waiting for things to warm up a bit before heading out.
Their pickup trucks were lined up nose to nose outside the cafe, a couple with the engines still running, and every one with the keys still in the ignition. Although I’m used to seeing this, for some reason this morning I was very aware of how lucky I am to be living in a place where you can confidently park your vehicle, keys and all, and enjoy your day without a worry about your car or truck being stolen. No great philosophical awakening here….just a quick reminder that I’m pretty darned lucky. it was a fortuitous start to my morning (and I’ll have to remember it tomorrow when another 8 inches of snow are predicted and we’ll all be back to grumbling about the weather).