Thawing Estuary at the Wells Reserve, Maine (cool summer arial shot in the link)
Following last week's post, I had many questions about when spring starts in Maine. March, and even April, is not spring up north; it’s mud season. This is when all the snow and ice melts. Sometimes it rains. Sometimes it snows. More often, we get a wintery mix and erratic swings in climate. Nature is at its most capricious.
Last Friday it was 68 F (20 C) with 50 mile per hour winds. My son spotted a pair of bald eagles searching for critters, emerging from long winter naps. I opened the windows and doors for fresh air. Newspapers and manuscript pages flew like autumn leaves around the house. Sitting out on my deck, I tested my Kindle in bright sunlight (very good visibility) while six inches of old snow in my backyard halved to three inches in one afternoon.
Then Saturday morning I awoke to the muffled silence of freshly fallen snow and Bowdoin students away on spring break. Our almost budding trees were powdered white. The mountains in Maine get the most snow in March, but our proximity to the ocean “moderates” our weather. I went skiing out back yesterday morning (above) after yet another storm with more flurries in the forecast this week. That's our treehouse shivering in the woods. It's beautiful, but is this your idea of spring? Even mud season seems a misnomer. Don't worry: the mud will come soon.
Frozen Marsh at the Wells Reserve
Sinky snow, slippery ice and squelchy mud make the woods nearly un-walkable. At this time of year, I head to the coast.
Laudholm Beach, Wells, Maine
There are miles and miles of public beaches in Maine. During mud season, they are nearly empty except for the occasional dog walker, enjoying offseason privileges.
Dunes at Fortune Rocks
Mud season is no one’s favorite time of year, but it’s the price of living in Maine. Our winter brings fresh snow and bright blue skies; autumn has the most glorious foliage and summer, with moderate heat and low humidity, is perfection. Spring doesn’t really kick in until May, and then everything blooms at once. I love living in a place with all the seasons, even if I’m counting the days to daffodils.
mini icebergs at Laudholm Beach
Mud season is not all bad. There are no crowds. Days are getting longer. Shovels rest while snow piles shrink. Winter traces on empty beach are beautifully surreal. The sidewalks to town are finally clear of ice; the plowed snowbanks removed by front loaders and dump trucks.
Surf at Laudholm Beach
It’s also easy to stay inside and write on foul weather days. Perhaps that is why there are so many authors in Maine, especially in my college town. Of course there are academic authors at Bowdoin College but also several children's authors chose to raise their families here. My neighborhood friends include: author Charlotte Agell, my crit. partner; Newbury Honor author Cynthia Lord; young adult author Maria Padian and the Hunger Games editor Kate Egan. When we first met four years ago, Cindy Lord posited it must be something in the water, but I would add that it's the temperature of the water that breeds writers in our part of Maine. We've got a cool location to set our novels, in more ways than one.
When I crave spring, I visit your blogs. Thanks for sharing your blooms!
Blog Watch: Through the Sapphire Sky shared beautiful cherry blossoms from Japan and Signs of Hope after the Great Tohoku Earthquake. Sapphire writes from the perspective of a Kobe earthquake survivor.