The Star-Herald

Adding a new season to the mix

Maine is renowned for the majestic outdoor beauty covering all four seasons of spring, summer winter and fall. But are there really just four seasons?

 

Depending on what part of the state you live in, and in particular for those of us in Aroostook County, there are easily six or seven seasons.

Aside from the four mainstays, we also have the well-known “mud season.” Typically starting around April, mud season is that joyous time of year when there is still some snow on the ground, but it tends to have a more brownish colored tinge. 

Travel too far off the side of a road and you are liable to find your vehicle’s wheels sink into a gooey mess of wet soil that can be several inches deep. Sure the weather is often pleasant and for many there is that urge to get out and walk on a trail or hike a mountain after being cooped up all winter. But chances are you may lose a shoe or boot if you try those hikes before the trails have properly dried out.

Following hand-in-hand with mud season is “pothole season” where if you are not careful, you could easily lose a tire, tie rod or axle depending on the size of the crater. Every town has them. Sometimes for fun, people stick a rubber duck in one after it fills with water, or better yet, pretend to go fishing in one.

Then of course there is “black fly” season, that lovely time of year in the late spring when if you are not careful, you can get a mouthful or even worse — an eyeful — of the tiny pests. Is there really any worse feeling than getting a blackfly in your eye? 

Heck, there was even a Canadian folk ode to the insect, “The Black Fly Song” crafted by Wade Hemsworth in 1949, about being tormented by black flies while working in the wilds of northern Ontario.

I would like to propose an eighth season for those of us in northern Maine, “spring fakeout” season. It is that time of year, usually in early to mid-March, when temperatures soar to a “balmy” 45 or 50 degrees. During this period, which can last a couple of days to sometimes a week, you will see kids playing basketball outside or riding their bikes.

I typically take that time to grab a shovel and start scooping as much snow as possible into my driveway so that it will melt faster. I learned that little gem from my father. It never made sense when I was young, but now I get it.

Unfortunately, it never seems to last. Temperatures always seem to plummet once again and how many March and April snow storms have we all been through? You would think we would know better. 

So even though the weather has us all thinking of spring of late, hold off on digging out the short sleeve shirts and shorts for just a little while longer. The light at the end of winter is coming, but we aren’t there just yet.

Joseph Cyr is the assistant editor/senior reporter for the BDN weekly newspapers. He can be reached at 207-532-2281 or via email at jcyr@bangordailynews.com.

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