Gray Matters - Look on the bright side

By Tanya MItchell | Apr 03, 2014
Source: File image

Belfast — I don't know about all of you, but I was ready for winter to end when we got that ice storm over the Christmas holiday. I am sure you will all agree, it's been a really long cold season around these parts.

And it doesn't seem to be getting much more spring-like, and since spring supposedly started more than a week ago, well, it's just a straight up bummer.

I know it's Maine, and this is not uncommon for this part of the country. Geez, I can remember seeing the occasional snow storm sweep through the area as late as May (fingers crossed that doesn't happen this year), and it is certainly not considered out of the ordinary to see the white stuff in October (still, eww).

Well, instead of allowing the long winter to get me down, I have decided to reach back in my memory to warmer weather and try to come up with things that I find disagreeable about that time of year. Because spring and summer in Maine are my absolute favorite seasons, it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be, but I did manage to think of a few with which I think most readers would concur.

Here they are, in no particular order:

First on my list are bugs, especially mosquitoes and black flies (yeah, we remember these annoying little blood suckers). Who among us has not had the experience of being nearly eaten alive by these tiny creatures while working in the garden, with only the inside of your home or vehicle to serve as a temporary asylum. By then end of the day, the skin you formerly recognized has now morphed into one big, itchy and swollen red bite. Yep, good times.

And speaking of red, I don't think anyone here enjoys the feeling of that first really harsh sunburn of the year (at least, those of us who tend to burn very easily). I seem to get at least one really bad burn every year, and it's usually because I decide to take a swim on a whim and then neglect to reapply my SPF 80 sunscreen. Ouch. Never mind the fact that I always get some pretty gnarly tan lines (er, burn lines) because I'm almost always wearing big sunglasses - you know, the kind that leave the very-detectable white circles around your eyes when the rest of your face is rendered a shocking cherry red.

How about those few days of humid, sticky, sweaty 90-plus degree days that we seem to see a string of in July and August? I've always found those kind of days to be a bit much, as I do not enjoy the feeling of sweat rolling off my body as I stand completely still. However I do enjoy spending a day like that at the lake — OK, wait, I'm getting off track here and this is starting to bum me out again, so... Moving on!

Oh yes, let's not forget that most Maine lakes are home to leaches. Gross.

There, now we're back in business.

And then there's all that yard work, which usually involve tasks like mowing, weeding, raking, building, digging, etc. And when you combine these activities with that aforementioned heat wave, well, I think we can all see where this commentary is headed (hint: heat exhaustion).

Don't forget the tourists, either. You know, those folks who aren't super familiar with traffic patterns here, who cut you off constantly on Route 1 and stop you in the middle of a long line of traffic, just as the light turns from red to green, to ask for directions to Perry's Nut House.

All of that said, call me crazy, I still can't wait for that inevitable (we hope) turn of the season. Because just as spring and summer bring on the bugs, sunburn risk and the need for more yard work, it also makes way for longer days, mostly more comfortable temperatures, the arrival of robins and the blooming of lilacs and wild roses. And don't get me started on the great feeling I get after that first whiff of freshly cut grass in the air.

I think there's just something about reminding ourselves of those relatively minor upcoming seasonal annoyances that can help us get through this winter's final grip.

Even if all it accomplishes is triggering a couple of laughs, it's better than letting this time of year get the better of us all. Think spring! It's got to show up eventually.

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