Winter in Maine, living on a lake as a new season ushers in slowly.
It’s a chance to reflect in front of a crackling wood stove fire. To sample good locally sourced food that is farm to table. Prepared with no one watching the clock. Slow cooked, easy does it wins out every time over fast food created and consumed but not savored.
Maine winter is a myth to those who have not gone through a few.
It is not hibernation. Like the other three seasons, outdoors is where we seek to be. Dressed appropriately and always left in awe of her splendor.
Winter is a peaceful time and everything Vacationland is re-known for transforms with the dusting of white snow flakes.
Powder, ice glazed, whipped crystals and flakes. The swirls of snow naturally sculptured by time and Jack Frost himself. It gives Maine a whole new presentation when the temperatures are played with outside our homes. Fewer colors but more shades of them is what the frost and winter snow do the look of things.
Winter offers more than downhill and cross country skiing adventures too. Is not just opening up a Maine lake five times each drilling session. Can opening down through the many inches with a Jiffy ice auger to angle for fish. The transformation when the temperatures drop and any moisture from the clouds turns from rain to sleet or snow. It is a slow methodical process watching the approach of a Maine winter. Saying goodbye to the season of fall.
Winter expertly reworks the Maine landscape.
The fall leaves that did not quite get raked, mulched, bagged or burned. They don’t matter once snowfall occurs. Next spring you can deal with leaves from the hardwoods around your property that shed like dandruff.
A sudden winter storm can catch a fall tree unaware. The memo of the change from fall to winter is often missed. The buttoning up a Maine home tradition picks up the pace much quicker when temperatures go lower.
Sparkles twinkle from the ice crystals on the snowscape. The mosaic patterns of what covers mud puddles like brittle thin stained glass. That a young child struggles with the temptation to attack with the heel of their snow boots. Snow boots crunching as you take in the winter wonderland around you.
Looking around in the day, up at night sky and blown away living on a Maine lake.
The brilliant stars on a field of black velvet are so many in number. No light pollution, no sky scrapers or obstructions to smother the night sky enjoyment experience.
You might spy a lone blinking red airplane navigation light far far away. Just one now and then passes over head for activity. Relax, you are in Maine remember? Less people, no traffic, little crime and more wildlife.
As a Maine lake see saws in a tug of war from open water to iced over and thickening.
Back to open water. The cycle starts and stops. It is like an orchestra tuning up for what is ahead when everyone settles down to read the sheet music together. It gives a native time to prepare mentally for the change of seasons.
You need lower temperatures to make Maine all it can be. To allow pond hockey games, ice hut shanties for fishing to be placed over the deepest fish filled lake regions. If you have ever lost a loved one.
You may know the experience of witnessing the ebb and flow of life before they go for good. You see the aging process speed up. Transforming whoever you are never ever quite prepared to lose in the hospital bed.
On a Maine lake, the ducks, loons, sea gulls and otters paddle around continuing their daily routine.
But they know from the increasing chill of the water they ply that a Maine winter is approaching. Slowly but with determination and the letting go of fall is the same regret each season in Maine presents. The older you get, the faster the Maine seasons change. You hang onto and cherish each of them.
I watched ducks and loons catch small fry this past weekend on a Northern Maine lake.
But it was catch and release. As soon as the fish dinner was in their beaks, a seagull in the background suddenly took over. Bullying them to fork it over. Witnessed this over and over which makes you feel sorry for the ducks and loons who have families to feed too.
Maine weather is never boring or predictable. True Mainers are prepared and the road highway crews are veterans at using the wing plows to keep the pavement clear, salted, sanded.
Life goes on but with a marshmallow coating. With promise of Christmas traditions and New Year’s resolutions to celebrate another completed twelve month calendar cycle.
There are segments of Maine’s population where winter is their busiest time.
Those making snow and shaping it for a down hill recreation ski area. That push and place snow from the the drive, highways, parking lots and walkways to better locations out of the way. Groomers of snow sled and cross country ski trails help the local economy. Working late into the night to have the smooth trails set up and ready for vacationers. Those putting on studded snow tires and installing or repairing the plows to clear driveways and highways.
Ice arenas and kids of all ages on skates lace up the hockey or figure skates.
New options are what a Maine winter presents us. Hard to ski or snow sled or slide down hills on the
toboggan or flying carpet sled without snow. A sheet of ice makes ice skating and hockey possible inside
or out during winter. New sticky snow is best to form ammunition for backyard battles. To make forts and dig snow tunnels. To roll something small that becomes the parts of the snow people wearing a stick arms, a bright colored scarf and carrots, rocks for face parts.
The folks who service the oil furnaces, the plumbers who repair frozen pipes when a place runs out of fuel or the heating system simply dies. Winter causes activity in different sectors that you don’t see in the other three seasons. It is also a chance to ease back and slow down for the folks right out straight those times of the year when it is not winter.
Have you ever been out in a Maine snow storm?
Where there is a deafening sound of a million flakes accumulating from above? The hush and rush gets the volume knob twisted. Being out in the weather no matter what time of year increases your awareness and is humbling, spiritual.
You quickly realize time on Earth is short. That we are all specks and a small part of the blue and green globe that rotates under our feet. Take nothing for granted and strive to improve to make a difference helping others.
The snowstorm on a lake and the mist when the air is colder than the water temperature makes the Maine lake in winter disappear for a bit.
Maine winter living, living on a lake, adding the clothing layers. Pulling your gloves and hat hand knit by your grandmother off the expanded stretched out clothes rack. Strategically parked next to the wood heater. Walking slowly as you leave the house steps assuming ice is under that new fallen snow blanket. The fresh Maine air becomes crisper, cleaner, sharper.
The lake, rivers, ponds and stream water surfaces transform. Becoming a polished solid thickening sheet with any wave action gagged and hidden completely under a lid. When you own waterfront property on a Maine lake you see it all happening right out front on the big flat screen.
As the freeze slows down the pace of life in Maine.
It shortens the list of what needs to be done outside to clearing snow, scraping your iced windshield. Taxes your vehicle battery overworked with defrosters, heaters, the use of lights to cut through the earlier longer darkness. Winter forces you to relax, to reflect, to feel freed up to create the space. To work on what is important or missing in your life routine that the tranquil Maine winter provides for best.
I love Maine winter living on a lake.
There are those who do not and options to bug out and snow bird to take a break. Digging out your skis, snow shoes, ice skates and snow sled gets you ready for a Maine winter. Having the windshield ice scraper and snow broom to clear your vehicle from what fell overnight helps tame months at the end and beginning of a new year.
Night fall comes quicker that just makes the cobalt blue sunny days we do have more precious. Basketball and hockey season happens in winter. So do snowy trips to Baxter State Park for winter camping and hiking.
The time at a Maine lake is sacred when folks are gone. Where you and the wildlife and the few locals remaining around the waterfront have it all to yourself. Less distractions with more moments of peace and quiet.
If you only come to Maine during the summer months, you are missing so much of the what goes on in the Pine Tree state.
The changing weather makes every experience radically different. Same Maine surroundings but a whole new take away caused because someone played with the temperature settings.
Whether you are exploring the Great North woods, parked in a quaint sea coast harbor town venue or sporting camp setting, take take away is the exact same. Maine people are friendlier, the majority spaced out, living in rural small town and village settings. Feel the home town connection and down to Earth ease you connect. Less people, more wildlife, Maine is pure and natural.
Spend more than a weekend to witness what you are missing on the Maine lake in winter.
On say a Maine lake where loons and ducks are robbed by a lazy seagull. Giving up their fresh small fry
catch of fish to the larger feisty coastal white bird repeatedly as you watch the injustice from shore. Another lake property owner on the South Shore tried rescuing a loon frozen in ice that a bald eagle had selected for a lunch option. You realize the food chain, the survival of the fittest.
The Maine photos magneted to your refrigerator you collected back in spring, summer, fall. Those full color reminders of a more recent trek to Maine on vacation. Add to those same settings but in winter for a new snow twist. Don’t forget to bring your camera.
In winter in Maine, living on a lake, it is you, just you.
Nothing is shared, diminished or delayed with the chatter of Maine tourists. No traffic, no spin, keep your wallet in your pocket or purse. Take your time, stay as long as you want to fill to the brim, cup runneth over. Until you get inside and out what you need gleaned from a Maine winter living on a lake setting.