In cooler weather, travelers enjoy breathtaking views of the New England countryside. For locals it is a strong reminder that the long, dark nights of winter break in slowly in the early morning and evening hours. Many Mainers will turn into lazy, sleepy creatures waiting for the big melt of spring.
It's like a salamander on a cold autumn morning, hurrying across the doorway looking for a good amount of leaves to hide under. Soon we will get up at night to stuff the stoves with firewood and return to bed with heavy moccasins on tired feet.
Everything in Maine seems to change so fast. It sneaks up to us. Or maybe we've postponed things and do not want to admit that the first real nip is in the air. Then there are those who accept the icy temperatures, ice storms and terrible drivers with confidence and humor. We say SNOW in public to see mutilated faces turn and look in the grocery stores. This is a good way to get hit lists in these areas.
Before the leaves fall, large amounts of cones complain the spruce tops this year. Also green acorns, beach and hazelnuts ripen. Apples fall and pollute the roadsides.
Sometimes we pick wild apples for the animals and bring them home. Grain sacks and 5-gallon pails are always good to trudge over. This year, it seems to be a bumper crop of yellow, red and green fruits ready to break down the branches that gave them life. I even saw hazelnuts with five to eight tiny tufts of tufts, if only two of them were on three different trees. This is the goal of all living beings to spread their seeds and create a new generation.
Squirrels hide nuts in holes along the forest floors. Green leaves turn orange, red and yellow and then fall off when wind and time pull on them. Maple trees can be seen in the woods of Maine first. They stand out more than a sexy drag queen walking the Maine State House like a high-fashion model, while a referendum on peanut butter in classrooms is held. It's the best time to tap them in the spring. Poplar leaves tremble and spin in the wind to quickly drop the deep yellow, hollow leaves. In other parts people call them Espen, This word makes me think of ski rabbits from a distance.
After the bright orange, the bright red and the yellow comes the pale yellow of the ashes. Their feathered leaves look like ferns. Each leaf is actually a stalk with five to eleven leaflets lined up on both sides. Less conspicuous oaks and beeches lose their deep green when they brown. Oak falls quickly at once while the beech clings to its branches. Some beach leaves make it all winter long, only to fall in spring when the buds push out new leaves in their place.
A few weeks pass to reveal naked branches. Wind and rain play a big part in how fast they are thrown off. The hardwoods look dead. The ground turns brown and frosty every morning. A walk through the forest can be done from anywhere. Crinkle, snap, crunch – "Here I come Bucky!". Only a stiff breeze or a light blanket of wet, soft snow can prevent a hunter from disturbing the rest of the deer in the rut.
Deep, evergreen plants conquer the landscape, seen through thin branches and strong against the overwhelming contrast of the first snow. On calm nights, light snow lies so carefully on spruce needles and Queen Annes lace.
Then we are stuck there. Everything slows down. Before we know it, we are deep in the sleepy months of winter. That's just how we are claughing Hours and hours of darkness at night and the brightest white of snow shining on the ever shorter days of wet roads.
Many Mainers hurry to the supermarket every time a storm is predicted. In a hurry, I mean 32 km / h, because it could crawl under her car, without them noticing. Old ladies with their miracle bread, 1% milk and cat food mix aimlessly and confuse the grain island islands as colorful as the foliage weeks ago. Young men with beer, bacon and fries shoot past them.
Those of us with the true hardship just ride it with amusement and a sense of contingency. With milk to squeeze, beans from the can, deer in the freezer and fresh Gluckhuhn for plucking and frying. Everything is good. The gas is refilled in rusty plow cars. Plows are ready to be attached. Snow shovels wait in standby mode on the back of scales behind pool noodles and rakes.
I love to plow with my husband. He drives and I press the buttons on the remote. It's an old Ford who has barely enough time to push snow, pull trees out of the woods with a strong belt, and irrigate livestock and gardens in the yard all summer long with a water pod.
The best we can do is enjoy it as it is. Build fortresses and snowmen with the children and slide down the hills. Prepare hot chocolate and tea in the afternoon. Or for those of us with a caffeine addiction, a stiff cup of coffee.
Driving a car is a nightmare. Slippery roads full of terrible drivers that should be avoided. Half the state has bald tires and old cars. Four-wheel drive college students think they are safe, but discount for their lack of skills.
Plow trucks and tow trucks make their living by scratching and flashing lights on the streets. CHipmunks and toads sleep through everything.
Clear nights dive deep enough to freeze your nose hair and numb your ears in minutes. Cheeks are rosy and toes toast from wood stoves. Children who think they are tough and cool dance in pants full of intentionally placed holes and thin leggings. No gloves or hats. They do not try shower while the bus is driving too late. They will not let them be too stupid to get dressed.
At night, snow dampens the noise while the state sleeps. With no real big cities in the Maine forests, the Milky Way is a misty, iridescent belt over the night sky. Breath roars in big, thick clouds too thick to look through. We remember that the winter is beautiful and worth the effort. Some of us are doing it somehow.
That's what's going on for most people up here. Mainers moan and cry over the cold. Shovel, plow, dress, just to make up for it. These things annoy and control even the life of most of the mainers here. But I'm not sleeping under my Afghan blanket on my beloved couch, oh no. I stamp in the snow. Stare at the sky. It's just another part of life here. It dilutes the pups and keeps the tourists in the cities.
Holidays help haters to wade through the winter months. November with turkeys on the way. December with its huge trees that you can drag in. January starts a new year, but nothing changes. February is a month of love in which sullenly babies are conceived as we ride the coldest month.
March is lucky and in April most of the snow melts. At some point hides a huge bunny eggs of all things. We do our mothers more good than our fathers, because the calendar reminds us. Then the mud season gives way to spring. We got married in the mud season. I carried boots, Carhartt overalls, and a charming white veil through the door, down the driveway, to stand on a bare ledge near the small peasant's pond.
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