The Star-Herald

No snow like new snow

Yes, it does snow in northern Maine. 

 

Lots and lots of the white stuff will show up, knock on your door and invite itself into the house for six months. By this time of the year, barely two months, the apparatus and art of snow removal has reached its zenith. From rooftop to driveway, there are tools that will displace the unwanted houseguests. Thousands of tales will be formed and told of battling the invasive white flakes.

Scoops, shovels, blowers, brooms and plows are out in the open and on display in a challenge to Mother Nature. She barely winks an eye. Of course, locals realize that frozen water has one property: lubrication. When frozen, water and friction are opposed. Friction is the physical property that captures an object and holds it in place. Without friction we would be floating like Jessica Meir does in space. When the weather guy says it will be slippery with newly fallen snow, he can be forgiven for overreacting to the clearly obvious. Thrown under the wheels, frozen water particles lower the threshold for an object to grip the ground. This results in the inversion of the body. Feet are thrust into the air and heads are used as cushions to protect the ground. The resulting pain is meant as a friendly reminder that the laws of physics must be obeyed. Gravity is thus a very grave situation.

Snow does have its uses. It hides that horrible yard of your neighbor. Gone are the engine blocks from the 1958 Edsel and the rusting hulk of a 1993 Winnebago and who knows what other treasures. Instead there are now artful pieces of sculpture that make your neighbor appear more sophisticated than ordinary people. Everything is white. So many decorating ideas are solved with white.

It is also time for the appearance of the rare creature, the snow snake. Snow snakes are fast. Often all that can be seen are the wisps of the flakes of snow as these beasts pass by — usually from a gusty wind. They can be anywhere. Remember when your neighbor was clearing his roof of the latest 15 feet of snow and he fell off? No one knew he was missing until spring when he thawed out. It was a snow snake that pushed him off. Stories abound of the people who have gone out on some errand and been trapped in a herd of snow snakes, never to be seen again.

On those clear nights, under the bright, full, snow moon, it is possible to hear the yells and hollers of those who have been trapped by the crystalline drops of water. That lonely wind calls coldly through the night. 

Better to stay inside with a large mug of hot chocolate watching reruns of monotonous local news reading the latest seed catalog. Spring is coming.

Orpheus Allison is a photojournalist living in The County who graduated from UMPI and earned a master of liberal arts degree from the University of North Carolina. He began his journalism career at WAGM television later working in many different areas of the US. After 20 years of television he changed careers and taught in China and Korea.

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