Spring snow melts,
thick-soled winter boots
and ice-crusted mittens drip
in front of a roaring woodstove.
Muddy wheel ruts dry, cracking
in the warm sunshine.
Swarms of blackflies arrive
in tandem with tree frogs who
begin to sing in stereo at dusk.
Gardens planted early
promise bushels of produce,
defying an inevitable late frost
predicting a short summer
growing season in Maine.
Summer arrives to sit at
picnic tables at backyard BBQ’s,
Swan Island Downeast Lobster-Paluzzas,
trips northward “upta” camp,
deep-sea fishing excursions,
river kayaking, whitewater rafting
on rocky, crystal clear rushing streams,
ski jetting at the lake or saltwater
sailing, yachting, water skiing
and swimming at the beach.
Fourth of July family celebrations
produce hours of colorful
bursts of fireworks high
into the hot summer night.
Labor Day holiday sends tourists
hastily heading southward,
bidding farewell to
Miles the Moose and
D. Claude Lobster
as they pass through the Kittery toll booth,
en route to the metropolitan
chaos they call home.
The dark, damp walls
of blue-black melancholy
begin to set in, as real as
of an early frost.
Today’s sunrise announces
the showy debut of colorful leaves
as the curtain of fog rises
on the first crisp morning
of another fall season in Maine.
Hardy tourists linger for
the perfect snapshot, framed
for their desk back at the office
on the 21st floor in the city.
Bright yellow school buses
round up chatting children
dressed in trendy school duds
new to them, from older sisters
and brothers hand-me-downs.
Students nervously wait until dawn
in rural driveways dotting
the Maine countryside.
Freshly painted classrooms, and
shiny polished floors reflect
images of anxious children
thundering through hallways,
en route to the first classes of fall.
Distracted by thoughts
of cotton candy or fried dough
sprinkled with powdered sugar,
consumed while walking past
fair ‘barkers’ and ring toss games
at traditional county fairs across the state.
Preoccupied with thoughts of oxen
straining in a dusty pulling ring,
dreaming of blue ribbon
prized pigs, giant pumpkins,
penny scrambles or this years’
fair queen contest, each student
attempts to be attentive
during the first weeks of history,
algebra or English classes.
Visitors ‘from away’ can hardly envision
how swiftly seasons pass in Maine
before the first pristine,
intricate snowflake designs
cover doorsteps, prompting
silver Yankee shovels
to dip and lift, dip and lift
load after load of the heavy white stuff.
Darkness falls quickly,
shorter days dictate residents
condense workdays, inviting snowplows
to clear roads for safe travel long into the night.
Residents maximize efforts
to accomplish necessary daily tasks.
Winter has arrived in Maine.