Maine – April
I was writing a letter (email) to a friend, who used to be my neighbor on the west coast, the other day — a typical grey, April-drizzle day. Glancing through the windows, I nevertheless enjoyed the scene: the pale slate sky back-dropped the tall pines and popples, still as a painting, not a breath of a breeze.
Crows were flitting and cawing from branch to branch and a fat partridge landed to snack on the tiniest of new buds just emerging. Raindrops dripped from the roof, taking the last of the winter snow build-up.
Answering my friend’s morning email inquiry of “How are you?” I wrote:
“Raining here today — soft "April Shower" — can't have sun every day. Although, when I make MY world, it's gonna shine every day — and do the raining a couple nights a week — and look-wise, it’s gonna be 'Maine'.
"Maine is the most forested, per land area, state. It has some 2,677-plus lakes and ponds, 3,000-plus islands and 3,000-plus miles of sea-shore and — the only state with no poisonous vipers.
"Also, we don't get any earthquakes — well, none above 3.0, hardly qualifying. We are one big granite rock. Tornados? A tiny little tail now and then that takes up a tree, maybe two. Hurricanes? Some good blows now and again, more like what Grampa Roy would refer to as a “rip-snorter,” otherwise known as a nor'easter. Flooding? Every dozen years or so, along two rivers. We get out of their way and let ‘er rip.
"And we're not a 'go-through' state — you don't drive through Maine to get to any other state. We're safely tucked into Canada for most of three sides, the ocean on the other. We only touch one other state, New Hampshire. So we travel our roads unencumbered of passers-through.
"So Maine is about as close to heaven on earth as it gets — but don't tell anyone.
"Oh, and we have the best lobster in the world and our potatoes beat Idaho’s any day of the week. And Maine wild blueberries — it’s the only state with natural-grown blueberries. And they only grow in small, isolated areas of Maine (fortunately all around in my county) and a tiny bit up in Canada. Cultivated blueberries are but a poor, bland imitation.
"Yes, we have some long winters, but they help to keep hordes of people from moving in so that's a blessing in disguise. And right now, we’re all giddy with our glorious Maine spring. Everyone’s posting pics on Facebook: 'My crocus are up;' 'There’s loads of purple finch at my feeders;' 'Look at this brookie I caught this morning;' 'My daffodil leaves are up 8 inches;' 'Mud Season is almost over;' etc.
"We’re keeping a vigil for the first sign of a fiddlehead to break ground and I predict the wood frogs and peepers will be setting up their cacophony orchestra this week. I expect the clacking wood frogs tomorrow — just a hunch.
"Also, we don’t get those housing developments that pop up like mushrooms overnight, like out there in your neck of the woods. I’m so glad I moved back home to Maine before that 20 acres of garbanzo beans in back of our houses turned into a hundred-house 'neighborhood.' Too much togetherness for me.
"Shhhhh ... Do not pass all this along. Most people outside of New England don’t know Maine’s even in the states. And if they do, they only think of it, weather-wise, as a couple degrees below the North Pole. This is a major deterrent to them. Thank goodness.
"So how is it with you?”
My email was probably a little more than my friend really anticipated in response to her simple “How are you?“– but that’s the risk you take when you ask a writer a question.
Marion Tucker-Honeycutt, an award-winning columnist, a Maine native and graduate of Belfast, now lives in Morrill. Her columns appear in this paper every other week.