A friend asked me the other day what I will miss when we’re sailing around the world. Without hesitation I replied, “winter in Maine!” An answer like that makes some folks shudder, I know, but that’s how I feel about where I live when the weather turns cold and daylight becomes more precious. Up here, along about mid-December, everything seems to pause and bow in recognition that the quiet season has arrived; the time to let go and let be has come.
Winter in Maine brings a sparkling clarity and at last you’re able to see the trees for the forests; now you can reconnect with the essential things — in nature and in one’s soul, as well. Soon, everything becomes weather-dependent; the elements provide the perfect excuse for a pace slow enough to make room for wonder.
I’ll miss the morning walks in the fresh snow where night creatures’ tracks criss-cross the path. I’ll miss the stealth of the fox, the leap of the deer and the congregations of birds assembling at the feeder. They always show up for morning services by species: first the crows, then the wild turkeys, followed by the mourning doves and jays. Finally the smaller creatures arrive, the wrens, the sparrows, the chickadees. We furnish the food, they provide the daily thanksgiving liturgy. Regretfully, it won’t happen on Johnson Point this winter.
When a Mainer asks you if you’re here through the winter, what they’re really asking is what kind of fellow are you — the type that enjoys playing here or the sort who appreciates living here. I’ve lived here year-round from the start and have never regretted a minute of it. This year, while I’m not quite feeling guilty about being away from Maine through the winter, I am a little sad about what I’ll be missing when the sun hangs low and the colors soften and the world is ripe for contemplation.