Finally the snow has come skulking in. It began gingerly, falling as light crystals in the late morning. By mid-day, it was doing its level best to reassert itself as the constant companion of our winter days. The last time we’d seen snow around here was at Christmas, and that was gone in three days. Having such a deficit in snow-cover this far into the winter seems to make Mainers uneasy — apprehensive, even. Just yesterday at the Bagaduce Market, my neighbors predicted the winter will eventually live up to its reputation and finally blow in with a big chip on its shoulder.
While the snow has been late this year, some emphatic weather a few days ago more than made up for it. One night the wind rose like Furies out of the Southern Bay and blew out the screens on our new porch.. I was up at 2:30 a.m. trying to save what I could from bends and tears. Wally from the Penobscot Glass Co. came out a few days later, sized up the situation and made things right, no questions asked. Before he started, however, he did ask whether I’d accept certain ministrations that would firmly if not irrevocably attach the screen panels to the porch frames. I told him it made sense to me, and he went ahead with it, observing as he began the job, “Considering where you are, they should have done it this way in the first place.”
Looking out the kitchen window now, I see that vengeance has indeed arrived, vindicating the Market predictions. The snow’s falling at a rate that looks like an inch an hour. On the road above the house, the town plow has just gone through, announced by a slight quaking of the earth assuring us that somebody, (Bob Harmon in fact, the Road Commissioner for the Town of Coddington), is at life’s wheel looking out for us.
Speaking of protectors of the common weal, Joel, the fellow who installed the electric generator, came by yesterday afternoon just to see if all were well with our personal hedge against the area’s frequent power failures. After pressing the buttons on the machine like a ten-year old with a gameboy, he declared us good to go. Then he asked what we were doing here. Were we up for the week? I told him we live here now, and I could see he was both surprised and pleased.
Before long, this avuncular gentleman, who looks like he’s about to retire from the job he’d taken after he’d retired some years ago, started telling me stories of the motorcycle trip he took through Nova Scotia last summer. You never know about people up here. The summer’s housepainter turns out to be a published poet, the trash collector heads the local Historical Society, our yoga instructor shows up as the girl lead in the area’s best rock band and my neighbor the sheep farmer asks me about several theological tomes sitting on his living room bookshelf that should really be housed in the Bodilean.
As the motorcycle tales wound down, Joel climbed back into his generator repair truck, waved and told me to “Enjoy the snow tomorrow.” I’ve never heard those sentiments from anybody who wasn’t a guest at a ski resort. Well, I am enjoying the weather today, although from the inside looking out. For a moment I was tempted to ski out the back door onto the paths that run down to the river, but the wind has picked up, the sky has lowered and visibility can’t be very good. When we were drawing up remodeling plans two summers ago, a friend urged us to keep several small and cozy spaces around the house that we could retreat to “when the weather comes.” I’m getting a sense of what she was talking about.
The day is fading early and we’re increasingly surrounded by the gloomy gray of a storm preparing to settle in for the night. Laura, the church choir director just called to cancel this evening’s rehearsal, telling me she’s unsure what we’ll be singing at services on Sunday. Snow like this has a way of reminding us that we aren’t entirely in control of things, that we don’t always need to be, and, around here at least, we can be just as glad not to have to be, as long as folks keep looking out for one another.
Edward R. Dufresne © 2012