Tour in Time through Maine’s Many
By: Mark Bloomer
How many seasons does northern Maine really have? We are familiar with the four basic seasons
of Winter, Spring, Summer and Autumn, but in actuality there may be as many
seasons as there are months. Each season brings a unique mood, and in fact
each season brings its own beauty though one may argue that the beauty of
some seasons is a bit more subtle than that of others.
The year begins in the depth of winter. January
is the coldest month, and the polar front where most of the big storms track
is usually well to the south. Smaller storms along the arctic front bring
frequent light snowfalls to our area, and the early nights are often accompanied
by the glitter of a light snowfall twinkling around the lamplights. By morning,
ice crystals can often be seen scintillating in the light of the slowly rising
February is another very cold month, but
the days are getting slightly longer and the sunshine getting slightly stronger.
The small clipper type storms that were frequent in January seem a bit less
frequent, and the deep cold air of mid to late winter seems to bring longer
periods of clearer air. But February's storms can be intense as the jet stream
becomes more prone to amplification.
Clear days in March can bring gusty winds
and drifting snow as the stronger sunshine creates more atmospheric mixing.
However, the coldest bite of winter is over and by mid March the snow
pack is beginning to soften. A clear calm day can combine direct sunshine
with the sunshine reflecting off the snow to bring a warm whisper of early
spring. But March is still winter, and significant winter storms are still
April is a month of transition that perhaps
can be described as moody, messy and magical. The old blanket of snow recedes
allowing a wet and muddy earth to be reborn from its deep winter slumber.
Swollen rivers carry millions of tons of snowmelt back down to the sea. Fog
can grip the forest valleys like a heavy coat of slush. A mild sunny day may
bring cheers of spring only to be followed by a day of wind and sleet. But
by late in the month a velvety green begins to glow through the winter weary
lawns as true spring appears to be nearing.
May is the month when brown becomes green
and the emerald color of new life spreads across the fields and forests. Ferns
begin emerging as fiddleheads and dandelions dot the lawns with a touch of
gold. Comfortably warm days become more the norm than the exception. Sunny
mornings often turn to partly cloudy days as puffy cumulus clouds sprout across
By June the land is lush and green. The strong
June sunshine can quickly warm the earth, and the warming air near the earth's
surface can easily bubble into thundershowers. Many trees are in blossom early
in the month. The pink and purple spires of lupine begin to emerge by mid
month, and by the end of the month fireflies can be seen twinkling along the
July is the warmest month of the year. The
fields are adorned with puffs of potato blossoms and the skies are dotted
with puffy cumulus clouds. Local communities are brought together in colorful
summer festivities. Vacationers seek the serenity of Maine's rivers, lakes and coastline. A sleepy fog often tags
along the downeast coast as moist air chills over cold ocean waters.
In August weeds are tall and beginning to
go to seed as the yellow glow of goldenrod emerges from the fields. Mosses
thicken and mushrooms open. Weather systems can be slow moving and rainstorms
sometimes long and soggy. But the air remains fresh and pleasant throughout
the northern summer, leaving the hazy heat and humidity of midsummer to the
states further south.
By September nights are getting longer and
mornings a bit cooler. Days begin with a heavy dew in the old grasses and
swirls of steam can be seen spiraling over lakes and rivers. Damp misty mornings
can give way to splendid afternoons of deep blue skies and late summer tranquility.
Colors of crimson and gold begin to paint the hills and valleys as the leaves
start to turn.
October brings frosty mornings and noticeably
cooler days as gusty northwest winds carry a fresh chill over the landscape.
Fields and forests have a spicy aroma of freshly fallen leaves and herbals
gone to seed. Calm days can be strangely silent with the buzzing bugs and
crickets gone. Late October may bring the season's first snowfall, but the
still warm ground melts the snow away in just a couple days.
November is moody at best and stormy at its
moodiest. Low clouds often shroud the skies over a sleepy landscape of amber
and beige. Strong storms lifting north through Canada have the potential for bringing powerful winds. Snowfalls
begin to dress the ground in a fresh blanket of white crystals, but mixtures
of sleet and freezing rain often end the early snows in a wintry glaze. A
warm fire and the smell of nutmeg and gravy can bring the cheers of the coming
holidays through the chill of Novembers cold and gray.
December days are short and cold with the
sun low on the horizon. Orange sunbeams of the early setting sun contrast
with long blue shadows in the fresh winter's snow. Chickadees are busy gathering
enough seeds each day to provide fuel for their tiny bodies to keep warm at
night. Christmas lights enchant the long dark evenings with their charming
glow of colors and sparkles. Winter has arrived again, and the land has gone
to sleep under a new blanket of snow.
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