Gray Matters - The light at the end of the long tunnel

By Tanya Mitchell | Apr 10, 2014
Source: File image

Belfast — Last week, largely because I'm beyond sick of seeing snow, I tried really hard to come up with some things I do not enjoy about warmer weather.

Since summer in Maine is my all time favorite time and place, it was not an easy task.

This week, however, I am slowly getting a bit more optimistic that the warmer weather and green grass is, indeed, on its way as the calendar suggests.

On my way home from work on a sunny Monday afternoon, I saw the first yard sale of the season (really, I'm serious). While it's a bit early in the season for me to start clipping the full section of yard sale ads that are a constant in our paper from late spring to late fall, seeing the hand-written sign planted at the end of a driveway on Smart Road was just what I needed. Just a small indicator that the light and warmth of spring and summer is becoming more visible at the end of the long, dark tunnel that which was the winter of 2013-14 in mid-coast Maine.

Another thing to share that I think some of our readers can relate to (and rejoice about) is the fact that it has been about two weeks since I have had to rise an hour earlier than I normally would to carry out the nearly routine task of thawing water pipes that had frozen overnight. After what seemed like endless months of brutally cold and gusty nights, I am finding I can now hop out of bed and head directly to the shower. No more pulling out the extension cords and fumbling with my amateur version of a heat gun (my hair dryer). And I got out of it mostly unscathed, although I did have to replace my hairdryer this week.

My lawn, as the snow slowly melts away with each day, has become the backdrop for a Maine native birds episode of Marty Stouffer's "Wild America." Almost every afternoon and early evening for the past week or so, I have counted up to 18 robins hopping around in the yard all at once, all while this same woodpecker appears to be carving himself a little nook inside a downed tree that lines the edge of my yard. If that wasn't enough to look at, I think we have a woodcock that has decided to make a nest somewhere on the property, as I've seen him (or her, I'm not quite sure on that one) bobbing around every day on the foliage and the beginnings of green grass that are peeking out from under the last of the snow. Meanwhile, the wild turkeys are regularly strutting through the back yard during the early morning hours, and at night, I am starting to hear the calls of an owl just outside my bedroom window.

These are some of the things I enjoy most about living in rural Maine, for sure.

Soon it will be time to welcome back my favorite spring and summer avian friends, the hummingbirds. I set out my feeders each year, about a month from this time, and it doesn't take long for them to show up and eat (a lot). God forbid if I let the feeder go empty for any amount of time, as there are always a few that will make it a habit of hovering directly in front of my face the second I walk out the door as if to say, "Hey, we're hungry, and we're tired of waiting."

Demanding little buggers, I know, but I enjoy them just the same.

I guess I can't blame them, as according to information I found at hummingbirds.net, some of these little creatures migrate back here from as far away as Central America, which I'm sure works up an appetite.

When the last of the remaining snow piles have finally been reduced to runoff, I can begin another spring activity that I very much enjoy, and that is preparing my flower bed out front for the addition of fresh, new flowers. I am also looking forward to the little things, like the first time I catch the scent of freshly cut grass or the first day you can go outside wearing a T-shirt and still be quite comfortable.

Yes, there is much to look forward to, and hopefully we'll be seeing more of these seasonal indicators in the coming weeks. In the meantime, I will patiently wait like everyone else around here for the weather to turn for the better, even though it's taking much longer than many of us would prefer.

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