We’ve gotten a lot of snow in Maine recently. Everywhere I go these days I hear people complaining. They complain about shoveling, about being cold, about getting stuck in icy driveways, about the amount of snow we have already, about how much is expected in the next storm, etc.
Most of these complaints are made with good humor, with a resolute, resigned air. They come from people who for the most part have chosen to live here. It’s probable that if given the means they would take themselves to warmer climates come winter, but since they have to stay, they try to make the best of it.
For myself, I like winter and this one particularly. I love all the snow. I’m still excited each time it snows, and take pleasure in the clean blanket of fluffy whiteness that covers all the old, dirty snow. These last two storms combined dumped over a foot of snow on Mount Desert Island, and left it sticking to the tree trunks and lining the telephone wires. Due to some combination of temperature and dryness in the air, the snow is still gilding the branches and frosting the tops of the pine trees several days later. Everywhere I look I see a perfectly charming view, if not a downright gorgeous one.
Just for balance, though, over the last few days I have experienced some of the lesser joys of a hard winter. I went to visit my boyfriend on Monday, and found myself spending the afternoon helping to dig his plow guy’s truck out of the driveway. Long and curving, with a gradual hill, the driveway seemed to have even more snow in it than graced the fields lying peacefully round. We dug the truck out five times before the driveway was made passable.
Thinking my work was done for the day was a mistake. I soon found myself with a roof rake in my hands, helping my boyfriend clear the roof of a neighbor down the street. Hefty and unwieldy, the rake was a bit much to manage, but I did quite well and pulled a large quantity of snow off the roof. Then I shoveled part of the driveway and got rid of the snow on the vehicle parked there.
Work finally done, we returned to the house to settle in for an evening of movie watching and delicious food. Unfortunately, the power went out at 8 o’clock and we were left in the dark and growing cold. I admit to complaining a little.
Yesterday I had a more difficult struggle with the reality of this winter. My house mate and I rose at 6 and drove down Route 1 to Northport. We stopped for breakfast at Moran’s Hideaway Diner before proceeding on to the village of Ducktrap, ME, just outside Lincolnville. We ventured into the Tanglewood 4-H Camp for a bit of exercise and adventure.
I’ve already blocked the most difficult moments of that morning from my mind, but I can dredge up memories of angry tears and curses which seem to contrast horribly with the quiet beauty of that lovely snowy wood…
I didn’t have snowshoes. That is the bottom line. My house mate did, and everyone else who had trekked the pretty little trails had been on cross country skis. Poor Sarah, too lazy and tight-fisted to have bothered to purchase snowshoes, even though the snow has been piling up and they have seemed increasingly to be a good idea! Silly Sarah with a stubborn streak that has gotten her into dire straights many times before…
Our walk started out well enough, with both of us marveling at the beauty of the snow on the trees and snapping pictures and laughing when we fell down. Then Lea Ellen put her snowshoes on and suddenly she could go like the wind and I was left behind in her dust. I was stoic.
I felt strong and didn’t mind the deep snow, which I sank six inches to a foot into with each step, keeping to the left or right of the nicely packed down ski tracks. Every now and then I sank farther, and had to waffle around and crawl out of the hole I’d made. Lea Ellen waited for me now and then and we chatted cheerily and then swiftly parted ways. We turned off one trail onto another, and the snow got a bit deeper. I was sweating.
We made it to the halfway point of our journey and eagerly took pictures of a small suspension bridge that crossed the Ducktrap River. We discussed options, focusing on how hard I was willing to make myself work. I got caught up in my spirit of adventure, my excitement over a new place to explore, and me desire to see it all. We picked a new trail and plowed on.
I would like to draw a veil over what happened next, so here are just some vague details. Picture me, all of 5’2″, trying to walk in three to four foot drifts, sinking up to my waist, struggling to lift my foot back up and out to take another step, plummeting back down, crawling, crying, gasping, grunting, wanting to turn back but horrified of the thought of what I’d come through, hoping that it got better up ahead…
The woods were quiet – Lea Ellen, stopping to wait for me, could hear my agonized progress. Upon reaching her, we had a pow wow and decided to turn back. The last blow to my pride for the day was the fact that I had to walk on the ski tracks, ruining the trail. It was the only way I could return the way we had come, and I tried not to look at the horrible craters on either side of the trail.
It was a long haul back to the car on the camp road. There was only about a foot of snow there, so it was hard slogging for me, but manageable. I wanted to kiss the icy paved drive when I finally tumbled back onto it, but laughed instead – at my own foolishness, and the thought of the ridiculous spectacle I must have made.
Solid ground and my good humor restored, I guzzled water and drove home, (stopping for sandwiches in Searsport and pie and coffee in Trenton) resolved on one point: I will be purchasing snowshoes at the next opportunity!
So anyway, to get back to my main point – I understand the hardships of winter life, and I sympathize with those who have trouble seeing past the shoveling and the cold. However, I am still enjoying myself, and can foresee many fun adventures yet to come before Spring arrives. With my new snowshoes under my arm, I feel that I will be able to say with confidence and joy, “Winter, bring it on!”