It is that time of year when the temperature begins to drop, the winds shift in direction, and the waves appear to roll a little bigger and faster than normal.
The colors of the leaves turn out, and the blueberry barrens begin the slow but vivid change to scarlet red. These are the typical signs that fall is upon us, and one can sense that winter is just itching to get here soon. You can feel it.
Given the winter Downeast Maine experienced a couple years ago, it is easy to understand the preparation that is taking place right now. My sense though is, this is the way it always is here, no matter the previous years precipitation totals; an attitude of readiness at all times.
The days here have been crisp and clear, really beautiful for this time of year, and the nights have that distinct heavy coolness starting to set in all around. And the activity has certainly increased, as this weather starts to turn and find its place along the coast.
The signs were similar back in Pennsylvania, only without the waves and a severe lack of low bush blueberries. The state is not without its photo opportunities though, with its vast amounts of deciduous trees. But here the blueberry barrens of Downeast have no rivals and their sudden change in color is a true indicator of winter’s approach.
But of course there are other things that I happen to see here that are different in the way we once prepared for winter. The major observation after our first winter here Downeast was that most Pennsylvanians wait for the snow to arrive and then do something about it. Here, Mainers prepare for it well in advance, and are ready and waiting for it when it comes.
Stacks of firewood are abundant in many yards and driveways along the back roads. Some stack it in neat rows, while others leave their wood basically where it fell when delivered or chopped. Tarps and covers of sorts are used to keep the wood dry, but many times the piles go without. Perhaps that is a sign from house to house, who is heating with wood as a primary heat source, and those who use it as a backup source of heat. In a way, the covers and piles tell the tale. The propane and oil deliveries are numerous, and the hardware stores bustle with customers exiting carrying shovels and ice melt in staggering quantities.
It also seems that the plow attachments are making themselves noticed more so these cool autumn days. Having been taken from summer storage, the plow sits and waits for the day it will become attached to something much bigger, to fulfill its purpose of moving the white stuff from one area to another, be it a road, a driveway or a boat slip.
Now that I am here, I take a little more time and pay attention, to see and hear the changes taking place as winter begins its move. The blue sky seems to be bluer in color, and the ocean water also appears to take notice and swells to a color of blue only seen during these cooler months. The Canadian geese are much louder than usual, and more abundant, as they take refuge on a beach waiting for the wind to change so they can continue south. The hummingbird feeders hang idle, as the sugary water line does not move, the birds having moved on for the winter. The spiders have been busy weaving their webs for food and future offspring, making the eaves of houses look like spinning wheels gone haywire. The boats on the water are fewer, the stars in the sky are brighter, and I sit here and smile, as a glance here and there reveals a generator in wait, wood neatly stacked, and a fully primed snow blower eager for it’s first go at the white stuff.
We’ll be ready for it, whenever it comes.