When old man winter arrives in Maine for another visit, the simple outdoor outdoor traditions return.
The ones started in our youth and preserved into adulthood. You begin to know how much fun you forgot climbing on a pedal bike is when you push up the kickstand. And take it to new unexplored places in Maine which is a six hour long state. That has so many choices for outdoor fun not matter which of the four seasons you find yourself enjoying.
Ever used pedal power, two wheels and commanded a bike to tour a Maine island? The same joy you remember as a kid returns when you bundle up and grab a snow sled. Trudge up a hill to climb aboard and let gravity be your engine to pick up speed. Heading to the bottom with family and friends of all ages. To do again, just one more run.
Traditions in Maine, the best ones started as a kid.
Introduced by older brothers and sisters. Where you used your imagination, were not parked on a couch killing time inside just because the thermometer mercury sits a tad low in the glass tube.
Sliding downhill in Maine means fresh air, crisp clear scenery, seeing your breath. Exercise, hot chocolate after you hang up your wool mittens. Climbing out of the layers of outerwear to cozy up to a wood stove crackling fire. Falling asleep tonight happens quicker, goes deeper when you downhill slide in Maine.
What else happens in Maine winter? Ice fishing with pretty elaborate shacks for the social aspect. Snow sledding the ITS trailers with motors, carbide runners, radiation under your feet and electric thumb warmers. Downhill and cross country skiing. If you are cold, you are not dressed right or need to pick up the pace in whatever outdoor pastime you picked for pleasure. Shovel a walk way, clear off a porch roof and you don’t need a coat zipped high with a scarf wrapped around your neck. You are plenty warm and full of energy to do more outdoors in Maine.
Kids know how to have fun in a marshmellow world all around Jack Frost had a hand in creating. Maine is like the snow globe kids buy or make for their parents for Christmas. When someone took the time to snow plow or shovel off a small pond. And drops the black circle that causes the spirited pond hockey game to begin in earnest. Skating, puck handling combine with the lines formed for a friendly hockey contest. Bonfires to warm your bones and to detach, dream, stare into the dancing flames.
The simple pleasures are not store bought or needing batteries during any of Maine’s four seasons. There is no software associated and it is a return to your childhood rituals.
Walking on cleared sidewalks in a small town under street lights or around town to window shop. Sure, being careful for slipping up on the ice down under means easy does it. But get outside. To enjoy the splendor day or night of Maine communities or the deep woods, an open field with a white cover frosting. Depending on what type of snow you have outside to work with, snow men, digging tunnels and making forts to defend the backyard is one option. If thick snow that supports someone’s weight on bear paw snowshoes is not crusted over and offers crust sliding on flying saucers and slippery magic carpets. The pattern of ice crystals, snow flakes and magic of crisp, clear frost add a sparkle to Maine winter living.
Winter in Maine is peaceful.
There is a silent roar as new snow falls and everything gets muffled sound wise. Crunching snow under your boots, the sharp sound of scraping a windshield to make it safe for winter travel. The distant whine of a two cycle snowmobile with tuned exhaust. Or a chainsaw working it’s way through a thick hardwood tree trunk or dissecting a smaller limb.
The snow plow rumbling by on a country or US highway. The pulleys of a ski area rumbling as your pommel t-bar or chairlift pass by the galvanized tower. The sound a toboggan makes as it eats up a run down over an iced over groove loaded with laughing passengers. Hanging on to the one in front of you with feet tucked around them in one long human chain ready for what’s ahead. But preparing for what to do if things go sideways.
All those sounds help the journey back into what you did as a kid in Maine when the calendar months are those of winter. Maine winters are not harsh or scary and we still spend our recreational time outdoors. Ask a kid, be one again. Don’t black out winter in Maine or you miss out big time.
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